Essex man fined for tampering with badger's sett

A BADGER protection group has called for landowners to contact them if they need advice about whether setts are still being used by the animals.

James Hore

A BADGER protection group has called for landowners to contact them if they need advice about whether setts are still being used by the animals.

The request comes after a Halstead man was fined �1,500 at Colchester Magistrates' Court after he admitted interfering with a badger sett.

Richard Michael Butler, of Gosfield, near Halstead, admitted obstructing a badger sett entrance and was fined �1,500.


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The 53-year-old also pleaded guilty to using a pesticide in a sett, which badgers appeared to be using, without approval and was fined �500.

Butler also admitted storing a toxic gas generating product without locking it up, not storing it properly and using it without the relevant training.

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A police investigation was launched earlier this year after Renee Hockley-Byam, chairwoman of the North East Essex Badger Group, discovered the sett on Butler's land had been tampered with .

Speaking from the National Badger Conference in Wales, she said the case highlighted the need for landowners to be certain about the status of badger setts when gassing rabbits which often move into empty setts.

“This was a sett that I discovered four years ago and back in March I found it had been blocked and quite freshly blocked.

“It had been gassed so I alerted the gamekeeper who told me that Butler had been 'gassing rabbits down there'.

“Badger groups are always willing to advise, they are all volunteers, make no charge, and would be happy to work with landowners in ensuring incidents of this kind do not happen.

“North East Essex Badger Group would like to thank Essex Police Wildlife Crime Officer, Pc Andy Long and Paul Cantwell from Natural England for bringing the case to court.”

Badgers and their setts are protected under the 1992 Protection of Badgers Act.

An Essex Police spokeswoman said: “Essex Police takes wildlife crime very seriously. We will investigate any reports of wildlife crime that we receive from the public.”

james.hore@eadt.co.uk

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