A farmer was threatened with a catapult by hare coursers whose vehicle was later seized in an East Hampshire village.

Police have urged people in rural areas to be on the lookout following a string of incidents near Alton and Basingstoke.

The culprits threatened a farmer near Kingsclere on July 5 while a dog was nearly run over by offenders on farmland in Herriard on July 9.

A lurcher involved in the incident was seized nearby while the vehicle was later located by police in Liphook.

The latest reports follow a ‘surge’ in hare coursing on an estate near Lasham with 13 cases being reported between November 1 and early January.

Coursing not only involves the poaching of hares, but often sees damage caused to farmland through trespassing vehicles with landowners being often intimidated and threatened with violence.

Similar incidents were reported near Clanfield and around the Meon Valley last year while police are expecting more to take place around the county over the coming weeks.

They have urged people to be aware and to report coursing and associated damage by calling 999 and quoting Operation Galileo.

Callers have been urged not to approach culprits but to capture phone or dashcam footage, where possible, and provide as much information to the police.

Useful information includes: are the suspects alone or in a group? Do they have equipment, dogs or firearms? What vehicles are they using and what is the numberplate, and in which direction are they going?

Descriptions, locations, landowner names and reports of damage will also be appreciated as any information, however minor, could prove vital.

If an incident has already taken place or you have information about a previous hare coursing offence, contact 101 or report it through www.hampshire.police.uk

Alternatively, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.