POLICE have appealed to the public to help protect badgers after a number of setts have been found disturbed.

The body of a badger with a bullet wound in its neck has also been found in Marl Pits, Rawtenstall.

Officers say a number of badger setts have been found disturbed in Rawtenstall over the past two months.

They believe badger baiting – when badgers are forced to fight dogs – may be taking place and have vowed to tackle the problem.

PCSO John Pepper said: “This problem has been highlighted to me a number of times recently.

“It is a problem which has upset local residents due to the possibility of cruelty being carried out on the badgers.”

PC Ian Rawcliffe said: “We are taking the necessary pro-active steps in putting a stop to this by working together with the local community and offenders caught committing these offences will be prosecuted.”

Nationally, there has been a rise in illegal badger lamping during the past two years, police said.

This involves a powerful light being shone at the badger before a dog, usually a lurcher, is sent to catch and then attack it.

Andy Hardman, from Lancashire Badger Group, said: “We are pleased the police are taking this matter seriously.

“Badgers are a protected species and we need to ensure we put a stop to this illegal act.

“Offenders can face a sentence of up to six months in jail and a fine of up to £5,000, as well as community service or a ban from owning dogs.”

If you have any information which could help, contact police on 0845 1253545 or Lancashire Badger Group on 07980 630250 or visit www.lancashire badgergroup.org.uk.

Source: Lancashire Evening Telegraph

Source: Lancashire Telegraph

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