BADGERS in Cirencester are at risk of suffocating after a number of setts in the town have been illegally blocked.

Animal activists in the town have launched a scathing attack on the perpetrators following the discovery of the disturbed setts in Pinbury Park on Monday, February 3.

Mike Haines, a Cirencester-based animal rights campaigner who spent last autumn patrolling the Gloucestershire badger cull, said situations like this are becoming more and more common.

“I am anti animal cruelty. This just shouldn’t be allowed to happen anywhere but you find that it is happening all the time,” he said.

“Whoever is responsible for this purposely dug all the soil into the sett. Give me a good reason why any set should be blocked. The people who did this should be allowed in the countryside.”

Mr Haines said that there is no chance of this happening accidentally as the setts are located close to a public footpath.

The Bathurst Estate, which owns Pinbury Park, has also slammed the actions of those who tampered with the setts.

“We were not aware that this had taken place but we absolutely do not condone this. It is against the law,” said Edward Allsop, resident agent at the Bathurst Estate.

Officers from Gloucestershire Police were called to investigate the setts at around 1.40pm on Monday, February 3.

A spokesman for the force said a wildlife specialist has since attended the scene and advised the tenants of what had been going on.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Gloucestershire Police on 101, quoting incident number 226 of February 3.