Hare coursing gang accused of pelting Queen’s gamekeeper with stones won’t be prosecuted

Three men arrested for hare coursing and assaulting one of the Queen’s gamekeepers at will not be prosecuted, MailOnline has learned. 

Norfolk Police revealed in September how the gamekeeper spotted the gang chasing hares with dogs on fields at Flitcham on Her Majesty’s Sandringham estate.

The gamekeeper was allegedly pelted with stones and suffered minor injuries when he tried to intervene and the men fled with their dogs in a green Subaru car.

Police later tried to pull over a car matching the description after it was seen nearby, but it failed to stop.

Three men were arrested in September after they allegedly assaulted one of the Queen's gamekeepers who tried to stop them from hare coursing in this field (pictured)

Three men were arrested in September after they allegedly assaulted one of the Queen’s gamekeepers who tried to stop them from hare coursing in this field (pictured) 

The case against the men, who were accused of assaulting the Royal member of staff at Her Majesty’s 20,000 acre Norfolk estate (pictured), has been dropped due to lack of evidence 

Hare coursing, where dogs chase hares by sight rather than scent, is most common between September and March when fields have no crops growing, enabling them to see their prey

Hare coursing, where dogs chase hares by sight rather than scent, is most common between September and March when fields have no crops growing, enabling them to see their prey

A green Subaru was found abandoned five miles away at Gayton and three men aged in their 30s were arrested nearby on suspicion of assault, hunting mammals with dogs and driving offences. 

The car and four lurcher-type dogs were also seized by officers. The men, who were all from the area of Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, were released on police bail pending further inquiries.

PC Jon Chandler, a Norfolk Police district rural crime beat manager, confirmed that they had now been told they would face no further action due to a lack of evidence. 

He said that an electronic ID parade had been carried out, but the gamekeeper had been unable to identify his attackers who left him with chest bruising on September 3. 

The car which was seized has now been ‘disposed of’ by police as it was found to have not been insured.

PC Chandler added: ‘There have been no further reports of coursing in the Sandringham area.’

The incident happened close to the home of Prince William and Kate and their three children at Anmer Hall. 

Hare coursing, which is illegal in the UK, takes place in East Anglia all year round, but is most common between September and March when fields have no crops growing, enabling dogs which hunt by sight to see their prey.

The Queen was pictured in January with the Countess of Wessex leaving a church service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk, where the alleged attack happened

The Queen was pictured in January with the Countess of Wessex leaving a church service at St Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, Norfolk, where the alleged attack happened

The men were arrested under a joint campaign against hare coursing by police forces, mostly in East Anglia, called Operation Galileo.

PC Chandler said those taking part often bragged about betting thousands of pounds on the number of times a dog makes a hare turn with extra points for a kill. 

He added: ‘It is a cruel sport which has a major impact on the hare population. It also has an impact on police and on the community because of the threats and intimidation that is sometimes involved.’ 

The Queen occasionally attends Sunday service at St Mary the Virgin church in Flitcham when she is staying at Sandringham.

She last attended the church in January 2017 accompanied by her nephew David Armstrong-Jones, the 2nd Earl of Snowdown, just two days after the death of his father. 

Legal hare shoots traditionally take place at Sandringham on the first two weekends of February after the end of the pheasant shooting season.

Prince Philip has been seen in the past on the informal shoots, along with gamekeepers and other estate workers.

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