“CLAIMS that badger setts on one of the county’s biggest country estates have been filled in could put the controversial cull on hold.
Police officers are investigating a complaint about setts being disturbed at Forthampton, near Tewkesbury.
The joint investigation between Natural England, West Mercia Police and Gloucestershire police started in April.
A spokesman for Gloucestershire Police said: “Evidence of possible offences has been collected, but at this stage work is ongoing to establish if these were carried out by anyone connected with the land or by others without the landowners’ knowledge.
“Investigations are continuing and no arrests have been made.”
The complaint was filed by Jay Tiernan, from Stop the Cull, who discovered the allegedly filled in setts.
If the allegations prove true, the badger cull in Gloucestershire could potentially collapse.
Forthampton Estate covers about 3,000 acres, around three per cent of the cull zone in Gloucestershire.
If it were to withdraw from the cull, it could take the total land area in the county that has signed up to the cull below the necessary 70 per cent threshold.
The Government has said the cull can begin from June 1, which is aimed at curbing the spread of bovine tuberculosis.
Mr Tiernan put in the complaint last month to the police. He said: “We’re focussing on Forthampton.
“It really is our prime target in the Gloucestershire cull zone.
“As it’s such a large area and would be the end of the cull if the Forthampton Estate withdrew, it’s a priority for us.”
Protesters against the cull have been to the footpaths at the estate to survey badger setts as well as looking for any evidence of shooting.
Owners of the estate have refused to comment.
The latest investigations come after Gloucestershire County Council voted to oppose the cull in the county, and will write to Government ministers about preventing the cull on council-owned land.”
Hunt saboteurs Association Press Release. 14th May 2013
On Tuesday 19th March 2013, Cotswold Vale Farmers Hunt, Dean Common Farm, a drunken hunt supporter Adrian Wood forced entry to a hunt saboteur vehicle. The two female occupants could not stop his advances and had to drive away with him inside the vehicle in the hope that other hunt saboteurs or members of the hunt would be able to assist in removing him from their vehicle. Although other members of the hunt were in attendance none made any moves to assist. The two saboteurs were the subject of unwanted physical advances while trying to gain assistance by calling 999. Eventually they managed to remove him from their vehicle. Although called the police did not attend the scene (Crime ref CR/06463/13).
After an investigation the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) refused to prosecute.
Video of the incident can be viewed below:
Lee Moon, press officer of the HSA stated:
“If two women had been subjected to the forced entry of their vehicle by a drunken yob in a town high street, and had then been made to drive him around while being the victim of unwanted advances we suspect that the police would have responded in a different fashion.
Once again those who try and protect our wildlife from the excesses of the countryside thugs are left to fend for themselves. This of course will not deter our brave people but it stinks of hypocrisy and inequality.”
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