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Badger chases sports centre staff

26 May 2006 - BBC News

Staff at a Devon watersports centre are taking extra precautions when leaving work at night after being chased around the centre's car park by a badger. The 3ft (0.9m) long animal, which lives in bushes near the Mount Batten Centre, has charged at several people. It is thought it may be protecting its young and is chasing away anyone who strays too close to its sett.

Managers said no-one had been hurt but added several people had been alarmed seeing the animal come at them.

Those who have been chased include centre night watchman Glynn Webb and barmaid Tamsin Parish. Miss Parish, 23, said she had "never seen anything move so fast in my life" when the animal thundered towards her at the end of a shift. She said: "It was just streaking towards me. I know it sounds silly but I ran as fast as I could. I haven't been to the car park at night since. Now I insist on getting picked up by the front door."

Night porter and former able seaman Mr Webb, 68, said he was also left shaken after a run-in. He said he refused to believe stories from his colleagues that the badger had no fear of humans until he encountered the animal himself. He said: "I didn't believe a word of it because they're usually timid creatures. But one night I went up there with my torch and there he was. I shone my torch at him, and he retreated about 10 yards before turning round and spitting at me. Then he just put his head down and charged. I was so startled I hit my nose on my torch."

Centre manager Sue Pudduck insisted that the badger was not a danger to staff or guests. She said: "No-one has been actually hurt - though I'm told it can be a bit alarming when it comes running at you. As it only comes out very late at night, we don't feel it's necessary to take any further steps. We're just going to leave it alone."

Naturalists said badgers only became confrontational if they felt their young were threatened, or if they were going senile.

In the UK it is an offence to kill, injure or capture a badger, or to interfere with its sett.

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