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Saturday, Sep 30, 2006
Abuser names unreleased
The PSNI has carried out a series of raids in a bid to crack down on sinister badger baiting gangs, the Belfast Telegraph can reveal today.
The most recent operation saw a police helicopter being used in the arrests of individuals suspected of digging out a badger sett in Co Antrim.
Homes have also been raided by officers following the destruction of badger habitats in Co Down.
The USPCA, which has been working with the PSNI on the clampdown, believes the badgers were being dug out for use in connection with illegal dog fighting.
The arrests were made last Saturday in the Dundrod/Stoneyford area of Co Antrim.
Suspicious activity on farmland was reported and it was discovered that a badger sett was in the process of being destroyed.
Both police and the USPCA attended and five people were held after a PSNI helicopter was deployed.
A PSNI spokesman today said two of the arrested group are being prosecuted.
Dogs were seized at the scene, along with equipment believed to have been used in the digging.
In countryside surrounding Hillsborough in Co Down, meanwhile, a surveillance operation has been conducted in recent weeks with the aim of detecting another badger baiting ring.
This operation followed the destruction of several setts, believed to be centuries old, that were home to an estimated 30 badgers.
A number of private addresses in south Antrim have been searched as part of the investigation. A dog with serious facial injuries was recovered, along with specially adapted digging equipment.
USPCA chief executive, Stephen Philpott, today said: "It is almost certain the captured badgers were pitted against fighting dogs in so called badger trials - illegal and vile contests in which the badger is the inevitable loser.
"Commendable public vigilance alerted police and USPCA to the problem and the residents' information was the basis for a joint investigation leading directly to the raids.
"I would appeal to anyone who suspects interference with setts to contact their local PSNI or the USPCA through our information line on 028 90814242."
- Belfast Telegraph - Oct 17, 2006
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