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Noisy nights are sett to continue

19 April 2007 - BBC News

They are neighbours from hell whose nocturnal activities leave a trail of destruction in the neighbourhood. Holding wild get-togethers they regularly fight each other and wake neighbours with noisy late-night passionate encounters outside. Numbering at least 40, they have damaged gardens in Gleadless, Sheffield - and they are above the law. The culprits are a colony of badgers, whose protected status means little can be done to stop their antics. Now residents in the district are at their wits' end after seven years of havoc.

Residents say the badgers are out of control, uprooting fences and trees, one man even had to demolish 2,000 worth of decking after the badgers dug out the concrete posts.

Most of all, the fed-up neighbours are complaining about the noise they make, a high-pitched screaming while mating, a racket keeping humans awake at night.

The fully-grown badgers have even badly damaged a steel wire and metal fence.

Resident Gary Wharton said: "It's my fence that's been brought down, I've had to put up boards as a temporary measure but there used to be a tree just behind that fence but they've actually undermined it and ...all my garden, you can see where it's raised up. The whole tree fell down. You can hear them during the night, they scream and it's like a high-pitched screech".

He said they were very destructive neighbours and not the sort you would want living near you. "Well, you don't know until you've got them in your garden and then you can see the destruction and the damage they've done, it's a bit of a nightmare."

Wendy Adams, of the South Yorkshire Badger Group, said: "We're not without sympathy; the badgers like living there, so there's obviously a good source of food. We have been down there several times and issued 100 leaflets giving advice. And we did organise a meeting ...but nobody turned up. At this time of the year we would not consider interfering with the sett."

Badgers are a protected species and it is illegal to interfere with their setts. In extreme circumstances it is possible to get the badgers moved but a special licence has to be obtained.

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