The changes to the Bill, which has been given Royal Assent today, will help deter hare coursers by giving police forces the means to seize more dogs and by lifting the existing limit on fines.
It will also mean that unauthorised encampments will become a criminal offence for those who do not leave when asked by the landowner or tenant, and offenders will be hit with strengthened penalties.
NFU Vice President David Exwood said: “It is fantastic news that the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Act now gives the police more powers to protect rural communities from destructive and intimidating criminal activity.
“The NFU identified the original Bill as an appropriate piece of legislation for dealing with hare coursing and worked closely with the government to include significant amendments.
“Hare coursing and illegal encampment can both cause significant damage to farmland and wildlife, something farmers across the country experience all too often, with little repercussions for offenders. Their behavior can also be a source of great distress for farming families who feel vulnerable and threatened in their own homes.
“We know that both these crimes continue to take a toll on farming businesses and families, and we will continue to work with government and rural police forces to ensure these strengthened laws are utilised to deliver meaningful results – a decline in cases of rural crime.”