The Country Land and Business Association (CLA) is urging landowners to watch out for illegal hare coursing.

The CLA is calling on both residents and visitors to keep an eye out for instances of hare coursing, which begins in post-harvest time.

Hare coursing is a form of illegal hunting which involves dogs competing to chase and kill a hare, and people will often bet on the outcome. The activity was banned in the Hunting Act 2004.

Ann Maidment, CLA South West Director, said: "Fines imposed for illegal hare coursing under the Hunting Act are unlimited, yet too often they amount to just a few hundred pounds.

"This is not an effective deterrent for a lucrative crime perpetrated by criminal gangs. The police are able to seize vehicles and dogs – both of which would have a direct impact on hare coursers.

"Police forces have the power to tackle these criminals but they need evidence to catch perpetrators and bring them to justice.

"This is why we encourage people to record and report any suspicious activity to the police. This can be done by dialling 999 if the crime is in action or 101 to speak to your local police force or by contacting Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111."