Yorkshire walker’s diligence leads to a successful prosecution for badgers

Badger Trust commends all those who took action in a badger persecution case.

Badger Trust is pleased to be notified of a successful prosecution for badger sett disturbance in Yorkshire, a case which has taken two-and-a-half years to get through the courts.

The crime took place in private woodland near Church Fenton in North Yorkshire on Boxing Day 2019, where three men and five dogs were illegally disturbing an active badger sett. It was the suspicious nature of the three men involved that alerted a member of the public to call the police and the landowner, who found three spades and a severely injured black terrier abandoned at the scene. Police stopped the men who were fleeing the area with the four remaining dogs. The men were taken into custody, their dogs kenneled, and the black terrier taken into veterinary care where he later recovered and was rehomed.

Witness accounts and physical evidence collected from the scene, including the injuries incurred by the black terrier (injuries to his jaw and teeth consistent with a badger altercation), were crucial in the prosecution of the trio for illegal sett interference.

Badger Trust commends the witness for recognising and reporting the crime to the local authorities, the landowner for their quick response, and Yorkshire Police for their commitment to securing this prosecution. All three men, aged 28, 29 and 33 pleaded guilty to sett interference in court on 6th May 2022 and were fined £656, £252, and £428 respectively.

Whilst badgers and their setts are protected under the Protection of Badgers Act (1992), Badger Trust considers that the often lengthy court cases and lenient sentencing are evidence that sentencing under the Protection of Badgers Act (1992) needs revision upwards for it to act as an effective deterrent to criminals.

Badger Trust’s latest campaign ‘PBA30’ is a call to the government to strengthen the sentencing for badger crimes, such as badger baiting and shooting, from six months to five years, in line with the recent changes to the Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Act 2021.

How to report badger crime and suspicious incidents

Badger Trust relies on reports of illegal activity at badger setts from the public. Recording and reporting badger crime helps investigators bring offenders to justice. You can help.