Police car damaged during pursuit from Saffron Waldon to Enfield sparked by suspected hare coursers


A POLICE car was damaged during a dramatic pursuit involving a helicopter that was sparked by suspected hare coursers.

A man has admitted driving offences following the pursuit which started in north Essex and ended in Enfield, north-east London.

A Range Rover was also damaged after it was stopped by Essex Police vehicles near the Mirache Kitchen restaurant in Enfield High Street, where a small crowd gathered to photograph the scene.

Officers responded to reports of people trespassing in a vehicle in pursuit of game near Saffron Waldon, Essex, at around 3.20pm on Sunday, 16 October.

A vehicle left the scene when officers arrived and was tracked by a helicopter and stopped by officers on the ground in Enfield.

A National Air Police Service spokeswoman (NPAS) said: "On 16 October 2022, a National Police Air Service helicopter crew from NPAS North Weald was requested to assist Essex Police in locating and tracking a suspect vehicle in the Saffron Walden area. The helicopter was on scene at 1454hrs and located the vehicle. The vehicle was tracked to the Chingford area where it was stopped by officers on the ground. Total flying time on task was 1hr 18mins."

A 22 year-old man from Tottenham and a 27 year-old man – Michael Maughan, of Barbel Close, Waltham Cross – were arrested.

Maughan was charged and at Colchester Magistrates’ Court yesterday (Tuesday 18 October) admitted dangerous driving and driving without insurance.

He’s due to be sentenced on 8 November.

The 22 year-old man has been released under investigation.

The pursuit was part of ongoing operations to target hare coursers.

Officers from Essex Police's Rural Engagement Team a day earlier on, Saturday 15 October 2022, stopped three people in the Uttlesford District on suspicion of trespassing in pursuit of game.

All three were initially detained and searched under the Poaching Prevention Act 1862. Then two men, aged 39 and 25, from London, were interviewed on suspicion of having committed offences under section 30 of the Game Act 1831. Officers also seized their vehicle.

A 14-year-old boy with them will be interviewed at a later date when an appropriate adult is present.

The trio were stopped as they walked across crop fields, accompanied by four dogs.

The investigation continues.

On Monday the Rural Engagement, Team tweeted the image of the damaged vehicle saying: "Over the weekend RET were busy tackling illegal hare coursing across Essex. 5 suspects dealt with & two vehicles seized. Officers put themselves in harm's way to deter and catch those who engage in this illegal activity

NPAS South East Region also tweeted about it adding: "A fantastic result, assisted by our #NorthWeald crew as part of our commitment to #OpGalileo, the crackdown on illegal #HareCoursing across several counties including #Essex."