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17 January 2014, 07:04 | Updated: 30 March 2016, 13:50
The RSPCA and police on the Isle of Wight are investigating after poison was poured into dozens of badger setts.
About 20 setts were disturbed on land behind Boxers Lane in Niton near Ventnor.
Police were contacted by a local badger action group on the morning of Thursday 16 January after it had been discovered that poison had been poured into the setts.
Police are working with the local badger action group and the RSPCA to investigate the report.
Wildlife crime officer, PC Nick Massey said:
“Badgers are a protected species and it is an offence to kill them and also interfere with badger setts. It is also an offence to lay any poison on any land. We want to hear from anyone who might have seen any suspicious activity in this area or near to any badger sett.”
RSPCA Inspector Mark Buggie said:
“There's no doubt in my mind this was a deliberate act of cruelty.
"It was the largest amount of poison I have ever seen - there was buckets of the stuff dumped at the entrance of these setts. We have spent most of the afternoon digging this poison away to make sure the area is not only safe for the badgers in the area, but also the people dogs and children who frequent the footpath.
"The poison could have caused a horrible and incredibly painful death, involving a lot of internal bleeding and pain.
"We urge anyone who knows anything about this incident to come forward and let either us or the police know."
Anyone with information should contact PC Massey at Shanklin police station on 101. Alternatively call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.