A police probe has been launched after three dead badgers were dumped on a west Cumbrian beach.
The discovery was made at Seascale and it is believed at least one of the animals had been shot. Officers are investigating to find out the circumstances which led to the deaths.
The force is warning people that killing badgers is a criminal offence.
An animal charity has now warned there has been an upsurge in animal cruelty.
Dominic Dyer, chief executive of the Badger Trust, said badger baiting was on the increase as well as more animals being killed by farmers and landowners. He also said there had been disturbing occasions where they had been killed by spades, snared, shot and even had petrol poured over them.
“The persecution of these animals is a growing problem and at the end of the day we have got to be vigilant, and try to bring these people to justice,” Mr Dyer told the News & Star.
“Badgers are a highly protected species and the level of crime involving them is on the increase. I believe one of the badgers found at Seascale had been shot.”
Mr Dyer added that he was pleased to see that Cumbria police was taking the matter seriously and investigating, adding that the penalties for illegally killing badgers are a maximum £5,000 fine and even a six-month spell in prison.
The killings have shocked people living in the area.
Judith Jones, who regularly walks along the beach at Seascale and Drigg with her husband and two dogs, said she was furious when she heard about the deaths.
She hopes that those responsible are caught, jailed and fined.
“I am sickened to hear that someone has murdered these beautiful animals,” said Judith, who lives at Beckermet. “I suspect that the propaganda and the tenuous link between Bovine TB and wildlife may be the motivation. Someone must have spent a lot of time watching a badger sett to be able to kill three badgers. How irresponsible is it to dump their bodies on a public beach where children and pets are?”
A police spokeswoman said: “There is an ongoing police investigation into badger deaths on Seascale beach. There are three deaths that are being investigated. No arrests have been made at this time. Killing, injuring, or taking of badgers or interfering with badger setts are all offences under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992.”
The deaths were reported to police on March 18 and again three days later.
Article taken from: http://www.newsandstar.co.uk/news/seascale-beach-dead-badgers-dumped-1.1204832#