TV chef and well-known racing trainer convicted on hare coursing charges

Tuesday, 1 September, 2009
(Scarborough, September 1, 2009) – TV chef and ‘Fat Lady’ Clarissa Dickson-Wright and race horse trainer Sir Mark Prescott were today (Tues) convicted on hare coursing charges following a private prosecution by IFAW (International Fund for Animal Welfare).

They were charged, under Section 5 of the Hunting Act 2004, with attending hare coursing events on March 2 and 3, 2007.

Both pleaded guilty to attending hare coursing events on both dates and received absolute discharges at Scarborough Magistrates Court. The first hare coursing event took place near Nunnington with the second event the following day being held near Amotherby, both in North Yorkshire.

Hare coursing, in which hares are pursued by greyhounds, is banned under the 2004 Hunting Act. Professional hunt monitors employed by IFAW used covert equipment to gain footage of the illegal hare coursing in North Yorkshire.

Robbie Marsland, UK Director of IFAW, said: “We are extremely pleased with the outcome of this case which sends out a clear and strong message that anyone who chooses to ignore the Hunting Act and engage in activities involving the cruel pursuit of animals for sport can and will be prosecuted.

“Ignorance of the Hunting Act will not be accepted as an excuse. We particularly welcome the judge’s comments that anyone in future found to be engaging in illegal hare coursing will be dealt with ‘most strenuously’.

“IFAW was instrumental in campaigning for the Hunting Act to be introduced to protect wildlife and we remain as committed as ever to its enforcement. We would like to thank IFAW’s team of professional hunt monitors whose evidence was vital to the success of this case.”

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