A HARE courser has been banned from being anywhere in the Wiltshire countryside south of the M4 - and having a catapult or being in the same car as a lurcher.

The court order also bans Scott Cochrane from being in vast swathes of countryside in Dorset and Hampshire.

It follows a court hearing in October where the 30-year-old admitted hunting with a dog and being in possession of wild rabbits - which he is banned from doing under a criminal behaviour order made in 2015.

Officers were called on Saturday, October 5, to reports of poaching in fields near Blandford in Dorset. They found a van and saw two men, including Cochrane.

There were two Lurcher-type dogs with them and they had a high powered lamp. They were also found to be carrying dead rabbits. A search of their vehicle located a catapult and steel ball bearings, as well as further dead rabbits.

Cochrane, of Yarrow Close, Poole, was sentenced to eight weeks in prison suspended for 12 months.

A new criminal behaviour order made at Poole Magistrates' Court bans Cochrane from acting in an anti-social manner, be in possession of a wild animal or bird, be in possession of a catapult or shot, and be in the same vehicle as a dog typically used for hare and deer coursing.

He can no longer enter many rural areas in Wiltshire, Dorset and Hampshire. The areas include south of the A35 in the Purbeck and Dorchester area, rural north east Dorset up to the M4 corridor in north Wiltshire and parts of the New Forest in Hampshire.

PC Marc Jackson, a rural crime officer for Wiltshire Police, said: “I hope this sends a clear message that coursing and other such crimes are not tolerated and we will take robust action against anyone suspected of such an offence."