Police investigating after badger sett 'damaged' in Newtownabbey
Police are investigating a report that a badger sett was damaged in the Hydepark Lane area of Mallusk.
The report was received at 1.30pm on Sunday, March 28 and it is believed that the damage was caused sometime overnight.
Wildlife Liaison Officer, Emma Meredith said: "The Police Service of Northern Ireland take wildlife crime very seriously and will investigate if there is a breach in the legislation.
"The badger is a legally protected animal and it is an offence to kill, injure/take a badger, possess or control a live or dead badger.
"It is an offence to damage, destroy or obstruct access to a sett. Whether these actions are intentional or reckless it remains an offence, and one which the PSNI will investigate and gather evidence with a view to prosecution.
"The addition of ‘reckless acts’ in the legislation does away with the defence that it was thought there was a non-protected species in the sett, for example a fox. Ignorance is no excuse.
"The dedicated PSNI’s Wildlife Liaison Unit offers advice, support and guidance to officers investigating reports of wildlife crime."
Incidents at this time of the year are particularly harrowing because the setts will contain very young cubs who will perish, said Mike Rendle from the Northern Ireland Badger Group.
"It is a criminal offence to intentionally or recklessly damage or destroy, or obstruct access to, any structure or place that badgers use for shelter or protection. Damage to setts can be catastrophic for a badger colony, as the badgers are in their setts during the daytime and many will die," Mr Rendle added.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact police on 101 quoting reference 740 of 28/03/21.
A report can also be made online using the non-emergency reporting form via http://www.psni.police.uk/makeareport/You can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at http://crimestoppers-uk.org/