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Badger baiting discovery

4th May 2003 - BBC News

Evidence of badger baiting has been uncovered in the south of Scotland, according to wildlife investigators.

A sett between Gorebridge and Bonnyrigg in Midlothian appears to have been dug out, indicating baiters were trying to trap an animal.

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and the Scottish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA) both condemned the "barbaric practice".

They have urged the public to help identify those responsible.

In the past year police and wildlife investigators, working as part of the Partnership for Action Against Wildlife Crime (PAW), have recorded half a dozen cases in Scotland of badger setts being dug in Dumfries, the Borders, Fife and Falkirk.

The latest disturbed sett showed signs that spades had been used to square off the entrance to allow easier access and send down dogs.

Tunnels to the main chamber had been opened up where the badgers were present, while the baiters had tried to cover up their actions by using large divots.

Mike Flynn, SSPCA superintendent of operations support said it was difficult to secure a prosecution for the crime.

"Badger baiting is a totally barbaric practice which is in the main carried out by complete thugs," Mr Flynn said.

"We need the public to come forward with any information so we can catch these people and stop this appalling cruelty."

Lothian and Borders Police are currently making enquiries about the interference with the badger sett in Midlothian.

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

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