A wildlife charity has revealed its fears for Lancashire’s badger population after finding several disturbed badger setts in villages north of Preston.
Police in Broughton have launched an investigation after receiving a complaint from the Lancashire Badger Group.
Police said evidence of spade marks had been found around the site – which has not been disclosed in order to protect the animals.
Today the charity revealed it had seen an increase in activity across Lancashire, which it believes is down to people digging down into the setts and releasing dogs to fight with the badgers.
Seven incidents in the Preston and Chorley area were reported to the charity in the last year – four were sett digs, others involved snaring.
Jo Bates-Keegan, chairman of Lancashire Badger Group, said around half of Lancashire badger setts had suffered disturbance.
She said: “As time goes by it is harder to tell if there has been a dig as many offenders back fill holes to cover their tracks so we cannot tell if the animals are still in there.
“But on this occasion there’s very clear spade marks.”
PC Chris Banks, of Preston Police, said: “We have been made aware of disturbances to badger sites in villages in this area, and are hoping to put measures in place to tackle it.
“We would ask the rural community to be vigilant, and look out for people with dogs, maybe in vans, and to report any suspicious activity to us by calling 101.”