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Police urge people to look out for badger baiting

Residents and visitors to Derbyshire, including the High Peak, are being asked to look out for the signs of badger baiting and report it to police.

Officers from the Derbyshire Rural Crime Team are hoping to raise awareness of the issue and help protect badgers and their setts across the county.

Badger baiting involves digging into badger setts to capture badgers and then either letting them fight each other or making them fight against trained dogs. It is an illegal activity under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992 and there have been instances of it happening in Derbyshire on previous occasions.

With more of us now out and about enjoying our countryside, police say they are hoping to raise awareness of the types of things people should look out for.

PC Paul Russel, of the Derbyshire Rural Crime Team, said: “Badger baiting is a crime and is something which can result in the death or serious injury of badgers. It can also put dogs at risk of suffering due to a badger’s powerful bite and claws, which they will use when they feel under threat from a dog.

“One of our main aims is to protect our wildlife and to target those that commit wildlife crime in Derbyshire and so we would ask people to help us by reporting anyone they see walking in woodland areas with dogs and carrying spades or acting suspiciously.

“Also, if you see bright lights at night-time in areas where there are badger setts, it is possible illegal activity could be taking place.”

PC Russell added: “If the incident is happening at that time, it is important to call 999 as a crime could be in progress. It is important not to approach them yourself, but to contact the police and give as many details as you can.”

People are being asked to make a note of the following information which officers say will help determine their response and any subsequent investigation: 

  • How many people are there? Can you describe them?
  • Do they have dogs with them, and if so, how many? Can you tell what type?
  • Exactly where are they? It can be trickier in more rural locations, but please give as much information as you can. What3Words could be useful here.
  • Do you know if they have a vehicle parked nearby? If so, can you tell us its make, model, colour, or registration number? Where is it parked?
  • Any other details which you think could help any attending officers.

People who suspect a badger sett may have been targeted but the incident isn't ongoing can contact police via the following non-emergency methods: 

• Facebook – send a private message to /DerbyshireConstabulary

• Twitter – direct message the contact centre on @DerPolContact

• Website – complete the online contact form https://bit.ly/3wX8Fr3.

• Phone – call 101 

Information can also be passed on anonymously to the independent charity Crimestoppers, on 0800 555 111 or by visiting https://bit.ly/35y2z3c.

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