Animal rights campaigners have criticised police after a marksman involved in the badger cull said officers kept him informed of the location of protesters.
The claim was made during a court hearing involving David McIntosh, who was taken to court for crashing a van full of dead badgers into a bus stop during a cull in Gloucestershire.
McIntosh, 28, who played Tornado on TV show Gladiators and dated the model and television presenter Kelly Brook, told Stroud magistrates the crash was caused when a radio he used to receive messages from police fell under his foot pedals.
He said: “I was carrying badger carcasses to the furnace as I was involved in the cull. The radio was always kept in the vehicle on the dashboard so we could easily hear and keep up with police as to where the protesters were.
“It was blocking the clutch and the brake. Before I retrieved it I was heading off the road. I started to brake but it was too late.”
Gloucestershire police promised throughout the cull to deal with both protesters and cullers fairly, showing neither group favouritism.
He admitted driving without due care and attention and was fined £91.
On McIntosh’s claims, a police spokeswoman said: “At no point did Gloucestershire constabulary co-ordinate the resources of the company carrying out the badger cull.
“Our role before, during and after the pilot badger cull was to maintain operational independence and ensure the safety of the public.” The court was told that the accident happened in Gloucester city centre just before 1am on 29 September.
Anti-cull protesters demonstrated outside the court and questioned why the cullers had apparently been in direct contact with the police.
Jude Walker, of Gloucestershire Against Badger Shooting, said: “It certainly goes against what we have always been told about the police being even handed.”