[T]HREE MEN from North Wales and Cheshire have been banned from entering the whole of West Lancashire after being given a Criminal Behaviour Order (CBO) under the Hunting Act 2004 – Section 1, hunting a wild mammal with dogs.
This is only the second time in Lancashire that a CBO has been issued under this piece of legislation. Lancashire Police were also the first force in the country to obtain such an order in December 2015 against three men from Merseyside.
Thirty five year old Christopher Hayward from Wrexham, North Wales, 38 year old James Callaghan and Jamie Dunning 30 years old, both from Chester, appeared at Ormskirk Magistrates Court earlier this month and were all given a two year CBO after being found on farmland, part of the Halsall Estate, with four dogs hunting brown hares, which is a protected mammal. They were apprehended by the gamekeeper and PC Leivers, the Community Beat Manager and Wildlife officer for the area when they tried to leave the area after being witnessed hunting hares.
The order prohibits the three men from entering the borough of West Lancashire with a dog, or, being in company with anyone with a dog, until January 2018. This is a great result as it covers a larger area than the previous CBO order granted and prevents the three from accessing some of the most frequently ‘coursed’ land in the county. The men are known to travel the country in pursuit of the criminal activity and this order may assist other forces if the three are prosecuted elsewhere.
PC Ivan Leivers says: “These three men had regularly and routinely entered West Lancashire with the express intent of hunting a protected mammal – the brown hare – with their dogs. Now if they continue to commit these offences, they face the very real possibility of being given a custodial sentence. Other poachers and coursers should be warned – we will apply for these orders wherever and whenever we can and when possible, as in this case, the vehicle used to transport them will be confiscated at the time of offence.”
The area is predominantly arable farmland and part of the ‘mosses’ of West Lancashire. The estate where the men were caught is the Halsall estate, which operates a successful pheasant and partridge shooting estate and enjoys high profile clients. This estate and the neighbouring Lord Leverhulme estate have always worked and supported the police and their help and involvements have allowed the police to get these orders. Members of the local community gave statements describing the distress and issues caused by the offenders and were pleased to see the order granted.