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Church to evict burrowing badgers

26 April 2008 - BBC News

A Gloucestershire church has been told it can evict badgers from its grounds.

For weeks the creatures have damaged graves at St Lawrence Church, Cheltenham, by tunnelling under headstones and leaving holes.

After talks between the church, the Gloucestershire Badger Group and Natural England, a licence to remove the badgers will be granted in June.

The Reverend David Eady said the church hoped to act swiftly because the damage was "upsetting" for families.

Rev Eady added: "Under the terms of the Badgers Act, we are not allowed to interfere with the sett before June. As we understand it, the badgers will first be excluded and a kind of one-way door, like a cat flap, will be put on the entrance so they can't get back in again. There's no question of culling here - I'm told they have an extended social organisation and will move on. This is one of those occasions where sadly the needs of animals are in direct conflict with the needs of human beings."

Widow Shirley Webb was horrified to discover 4ft (1.2m) deep hollows surrounding the grave of her late husband Jesse. The badgers had caused so much damage that her son Martin had to remove his father's ashes and put them inside the church.

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