POLICE Scotland have confirmed that five men have been charged in connection with alleged hare-coursing offences in Aberdeenshire.

They were arrested on September 10, 2017, in the Corse area of Huntly after officers received information from members of the public about suspicious activity.

One of the men has also been charged in connection with various road traffic offences, while four dogs were seized. A report has been sent to the Procurator Fiscal and the men will all appear in court at a later date.

Local sergeant Garry Garrow said: "Thank you to those members of the public who provided information in connection with this inquiry – your assistance was vital.

"I would continue to urge anyone with concerns about hare-coursing, or any related criminal behaviour, to please contact Police as soon as possible. In particular if you are a farmer or a landowner and you would like to report any suspicious activity or people on your land – particularly suspicious people with dogs – contact us on 101. Alternatively you can contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 in confidence.

"Hare coursing has been banned for good reason and causes significant suffering to animals in the guise of sport," said Sergeant Garrow. "Behaviour of such a cruel nature is not acceptable and I can provide every assurance we will fully investigate all reports received. We have the power to arrest and charge offenders and seize vehicles and dogs involved in hare-coursing and would ask for support and information from local communities to help us utilise these powers."