A Bolton man has been fined after participating in 'outdated cruelty' 150 miles from home. 

Lewis Sheridan, 37, was seen partaking in the illegal hunting activity, hare coursing, near to the villages of Twenty and West Pinchbeck in southern Lincolnshire on October 13. 

Hare coursing involves setting two running dogs onto a hare. The dogs compete and are judged by how closely they can follow the twists and turns of the hare as it tries to escape, and if they ultimately catch and kill it. 

The practice has been illegal in the UK since 2004. 

Sheridan, of Thicketford Road, Tonge Moor, was seen walking across arable land with George Miller, 32, and two dogs, a beige long dog, and a black long dog, with the dogs seen chasing and catching hares. 

They had arrived in the area earlier that day, travelling from Lancashire and Greater Manchester, in a silver Skoda car which they had left near a farm in the area. They had tried to hide the car behind some foliage. 

On arriving back at the car, the men were challenged by the local farmer who had tried to block the car in with farm machinery. In a bid to escape, the Skoda was driven at speed across grassed areas and onto the A151. 

The Bolton News: Lewis SheridanLewis Sheridan (Image: Lincolnshire Police)

Sheridan and Miller, of Loupsefell Drive, Morecambe, were arrested when their car was seen and stopped by officers from Lincolnshire Police's Rural Crime Action Team (RCAT), less than an hour afterwards.

Their car was seized along with the two dogs and other property believed to be used in the commission of their illegal activities. The property included three thermal cameras, a video camera and four mobile phones. 

Information obtained from the recording devices and mobile phones pinpointed the men’s unlawful activities and provided evidence of their offending. 

By matching the landscape from images taken from the devices the investigating officer was able to show the location of the hare coursing. 

The Bolton News: Sheridan on the day in questionSheridan on the day in question (Image: Lincolnshire Police)

Sheridan and Miller pleaded guilty at Boston Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, 1 May to hunting a wild mammal with a dog, contrary to Schedule 1 of the Hunting Act 2004. 

Both men received Criminal Behaviour Orders for 10 years, meaning they must not enter onto any private land in the counties of Lincolnshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire or Nottinghamshire between the recognised hare coursing season, 31 July to 30 April, with a sighthound, ground, long dog or lurcher type dog or cross-breed or be in the company of any other people with that type of dog. 

They were also ordered to pay £4,575.50 in total, due to kennelling fees after they relinquished ownership of their dogs of £3,285.50, as well as fines and legal fees. 

PC Karen Irving of Lincolnshire Police's Rural Crime Action Team said: “With the support of the farming community, our team, along with response officers, neighbourhood teams and other resources from the force, focus on bringing offenders before the courts. These offenders are people who inflict such outdated cruelty and terror upon our wildlife.

The Bolton News: George MillerGeorge Miller (Image: Lincolnshire Police)

"I believe the defendants both relinquished their dogs so that kennelling costs were not adding up, which they do daily. The welfare of the dogs is our main concern as we can rehome them much sooner than waiting for a potential court order.

“Notwithstanding the real cruelty and horror of these offences, the farmers have their land and crops damaged and that can have long term financial consequences.

“The farmer in this case has supported us throughout our investigation and we’re very grateful for their help.”