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Badger baiters blamed for digging sett

Surrey Advertiser - 4th December 1998

BADGER baiters are being blamed for digging out a sett on Farley Heath, Albury, this week.

Evidence that supporters of the sick ‘‘sport’’ had struck was discovered on Monday by local resident and wildlife lover Betty Edwards, when she was out walking her dog.

‘‘I have been keeping an eye on the sett for well over 20 years and this is the first time we have ever had any digging in a sett round here,’’ Mrs Edwards said. ‘‘I know it goes on, but for it to be so close as this is very upsetting,’’ she went on, explaining that a hole about 3ft wide and 3ft deep had been dug into the sett. She called Jeff Clark, chairman of the West Surrey Badger Group, of which she is also a member. He inspected the sett and then alerted police, though he admitted it was unlikely anyone would be caught.

Badger baiting was mainly confined to the North, though, he said, it was spreading to the Midlands. However, with setts there now heavily protected, baiting gangs were travelling South to find animals.

Badgers and their setts are protected by law so the gangs usually strike in the evening or early morning - not at night, as some people think, because the badgers are then out and about — when fewer people are likely to be around. Mr Clark said modern technology helped them trap their prey - a dog fitted with a radio transmitter is put down the entrance to a sett and then tracked above ground.

When the dog stops its handler knows it has a badger at bay and can dig straight down to it. Sometimes a badger will be dug out and immediately thrown to a pack of dogs, but in this case, it was most likely the animal had been taken away for use elsewhere, possibly for sale to a baiting ring. ‘‘A ring will be set up and the badger will be put in against dogs and bets will be taken on how long it will last,’’ he explained.

The Guildford police area’s wildlife liaison officer, Sgt Steve Juliffe, said he needed descriptions, vehicle numbers or other evidence before he could take action to stop what he described as a ‘‘barbaric’’ activity. ‘‘I am keen to find out who has done this, but I can only do that with public support,’’ he added. He can be contacted via Guildford police station on 01483 531111.”

See the following link for the full story:

© Copyright 1998 Surrey Advertiser Ltd. All rights reserved.

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