Sergeant Richard McNeill said: “We received a report of potential hare poaching in the Shillanavogy Road area of Ballymena, around 12 noon yesterday. When officers arrived at the location, they became aware of an empty blue Vauxhall vehicle that was reported to have been involved in the incident.
“Officers remained at the vehicle until three males returned, who claimed to be out walking their dogs. A search of the vehicle was subsequently carried out and two hares were located inside the vehicle and seized by officers.
“The two hares found were unfortunately already dead. The three men aged 26, 27 and 50, were interviewed in relation to the matter and a file will be forwarded to the Public Prosecution Service in due course.
“Hare coursing is an illegal activity and can cause serious suffering to the hares involved.
“Please be aware that we take these types of reports very seriously, and will work with our partners to address wildlife concerns in local areas.
“Our enquiries into this investigation are ongoing and we would appeal to anyone who may have witnessed anything in the area yesterday morning just before 12 noon or who may have relevant CCTV or dashcam footage, to get in touch with us on the non-emergency number 101, quoting reference number 759 of 22/01/2023.”
Alternatively, police added, a report can be submitted online using the non-emergency reporting form via http://www.psni.police.uk/makeareport/ .
You can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at http://crimestoppers-uk.org/