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Police target badger baiters

5 February 2005 - BBC News

North Wales Police are growing concerned over a "sharp increase" in the number of attacks on badgers.

Since December 2004, police have received 11 reports of persecution relating to the protected animal.

Police said a number of incidents have occurred in the Wrexham area relating to people digging for badgers.

Clwyd Badger Group said they are so concerned they are offering a 1,000 reward for any information.

Sergeant Pete Charleston, North Wales Police's Wildlife and Environmental Officer said one badger set was dug into "a large pit".

"These excavations....were so large and deep that it was seen as a threat to the safety of children attending a nearby primary school," he said. "On another occasion witnesses reported a gang of men walking along a valley floor openly carrying the carcass of a dead badger. Other reports from across the force area are less specific relating to men and dogs in the vicinity of setts," he added.

The Protection of Badgers Act 1992 protects badgers and their setts even when it is not occupied at the time. The maximum sentence is six months' imprisonment and a 5,000 fine.

The Hunting Act 2004 will enhance the protection the animal receives, as it will outlaw the use of dogs underground except in very specific circumstances.

A spokeswoman for the Clwyd Badger Group confirmed they would offer a 1,000 reward to anyone giving information leading to the conviction of badger diggers.

Group member Pat Hartley said badger digging still occurs.

"I do not know that there has been an increase in badger digging. Even though the law protects them it still goes on," she said.

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