25 years ago this week: Friday, June 20, 1986

BADGER-BAITING organisers are thought to be using Northumberland – including areas around Alnwick, Morpeth and Rothbury – as a source of supply for their sickening sport.

Evidence has been gathered by the Wildlife Trust and police that an increasing number of badger setts have been interfered with for that reason during the past few months.

And this week, Northumberland Wildlife Trust, in conjunction with the police and the RSPCA, established a Badger Group, in a bid to protect the animals, which are a protected species under The 1985 Wildlife and Countryside Amendment Act. Assisted by the public, the Group plans to co-ordinate a watch over all known badger setts in the county, in order to deter the hunters.

Northumberland Wildlife Trust spokesman Barry Lambie told the Gazette: “We have had reports coming in – too many to be ignored – of interference with badger setts in the county and we suspect that some of these animals have been taken south for badger baiting.”

Badger baiting – which involves putting the animals in a pit for a fight to the death with dogs – is known to be on the increase in the Midlands.

“Although there have been no reports of badger baiting in this area, there has been a definite increase in the number of disturbed setts,” said Mr Lambie.