Two men have gone on trial accused of interfering with badger setts.

Seward Folland, 75, of Puddington, Devon, and Nathan Bowes, 26, of The Bothy Kennels, Brixworth, Northampton, were filmed blocking entrances to flush out a fox, by anti-hunt campaigners, Exeter Magistrates Court heard. (Nathan Bowes was formerly the terrierman for the Holderness Hunt)

The prosecution said there was evidence of the setts being active.

The men deny three charges of interfering with badger setts in Chulmleigh, Devon, in November 2019.

Greg Gordon, for the prosecution, said four members of the Devon County Hunt saboteurs were following the Eggesford Hunt when they came across the two defendants in woodland.

Footage from cameras being used by hunt saboteur Daniel Lidstone was shown in court.

The prosecution claim the two defendants were blocking the entrance of the setts with earth, debris and nets and said that was not in dispute.

The trial is centred on whether the sett was active and there were signs it was being used by badgers at the time.

The court heard the fox that was being hunted had gone to ground and taken shelter.

The court was told the defendants were using spades to block entrances, digging in from the top and compacting the sett entrances and using nets to block them.

The prosecution said: “Both men were attempting to flush the fox out of the sett, that is not an issue in this case.”

Mr Lidstone’s video was played to the court showing a verbal exchange between the defendants and the hunt saboteurs about “blocking an active badger sett” which the defendants denied doing.

The court heard motion cameras picked up two badgers at the sett later that night and one “puts his head in” before moving off.

A prosecution expert examined the scene and said the sett was in current use because bedding was removed, badger hairs were spotted and there was a strong odour at the entrance despite a severe storm a few days before.

The trial continues.

Hunt Details: Eggesford Hunt

Source: BBC News