Hunt denies disturbing sett at Stockley

Police were called to Stockley after reports that members of the Avon Vale Hunt were digging at a badger sett.

A member of the public called the RSPCA claiming four men, accompanied by terrier-like dogs, were digging in a field in the quiet hamlet, near Calne, at about 3.30pm on Tuesday – hunt day in the area.

The RSPCA in turn contacted the police who sent units to the scene.

PC Hans Monahan, of Calne Police, said: “A member of the public reported seeing some digging taking place around a badger sett, which straddled the hedgerow between two fields in Stockley.

“Units arrived at the scene and examined the area and suspected the offences of disturbing a badger sett.

“They spoke to four males and took their details. Officers have invited the men for interview. Enquiries are still ongoing.”

Police said all four men were from the west.

The hunt has denied any wrongdoing and said it is helping police with their enquiries.

It is thought that, while the men were being spoken to by officers, one of the dogs appeared from within the sett and was wearing a tracking device.

The RSPCA was also looking into the incident and police called for a badger expert to examine the scene yesterday so they could confirm it was a fresh, communal sett.

Jonathon Seed, senior joint master of the Avon Vale Hunt, said: “I am aware of a difficulty near Stockley yesterday.

“I wasn’t present at the time but I understand that the police attended.

“As far as I am aware, all parties left the scene and the police want to talk to one of the individuals to clear up matters some time next week.”

The Avon Vale Hunt has been established since 1888.

RSPCA spokesperson Jo Barr confirmed they had received information about the case but that it was no longer their investigation.

She said: “I can confirm we received a complaint from a member of the public on Tuesday in relation to a badger sett in Stockley.

“But we were told police were on their way to the scene and the investigation is now in their hands.”

Enquiries are now being carried out by Wiltshire Police’s rural crime team and any witnesses to the incident, or anyone with information, should contact them on 101.

Hunt Details

Avon Vale Hunt