Artists behind an anti-hare coursing campaign which has seen more than 20 mud hare sculptures spring up around Sleaford are gearing up to take it to the next level.
The pair prefer to remain anonymous to protect themselves from being singled out by the criminal gangs responsible for the illegal sport of hunting of hares with dogs and betting on it.
The Standard first broke the story about the campaign several weeks ago, to highlight the loss of wild hares to this bloodsport, as well as the damage and intimidation done by the hare coursers.
In recent days the Lincolnshire Police Rural Crime unit has had reports of hare coursing around Sleaford and Metheringham among other places around the county.
The ‘Are You Hare Aware’ project has even been endorsed by the local policing team on social media and there have been requests for more mud hares to be placed in other locations such as Spalding police station and Leasingham. Hares have appeared at NKDC offices, William Alvey School and Sleaford Police Station as well as at roundabouts, junctions and public spaces.
One of the pair of sculptors said: “We are just going to keep rolling out more hares around Sleaford and surrounding areas. We have plans for the future but don’t want to say anything yet. You might see them appearing in villages and other towns, as the further we can spread, the word the better.”
He added: “They take quite a while to make as well, believe it or not. The clay is quite heavy so it builds your arms up.
“We have a Facebook page and a website being developed in the next couple of weeks to try and get more and more people involved. The police and council have been very supportive, even mowing around them.”
He said they were blown away by how it has captured the imagination of locals, but admitted about half of the hares have been damaged or destroyed. He said several mud hares have even been run over.
The artist said: “Even those people are becoming more hare aware and there is always a passionate response from supporters when they see one damaged.”
“We take a relaxed view - they were not made to last forever. It is really a reflection of what goes on in the wild to real hares. We would rather it happen to the mud hares.”