Officers in Poole are appealing for witnesses and anyone with information to come forward following the destruction of a badger sett at the Bourne Valley Nature Reserve at Rossmore.
Police found that the multiple sett entrances had all been blocked and the surrounding area flattened. It is believed the offenders brought builders sand and tools to carry out the act.
The incident was reported to police by a local dog walker on Monday 9 February. Officers have been investigating this crime and are now appealing to the public.
Police Constable Claire Dinsdale, a Wildlife Crime Officer for Dorset Police, said: “Disturbing or damaging a badger sett is a criminal offence. Badgers have legal protection because of the sheer brutality of crimes against their species.
“This is a sickening act. Badgers normally give birth to their cubs at this time of year. Any family in the sett would have suffocated. The offenders have spent a great deal of time and effort to ensure all escape routes were blocked.
“I am appealing to the local community to report any information regarding this incident to me.
“I would also like to ask the many dog walkers, who use this area regularly, to keep their eyes and ears open and remain vigilant to acts like this. Any suspicious behaviour should be reported immediately.”
No arrests have been made.
Badger persecution is one of the six national priorities in wildlife crime. Further information in helping to fight wildlife crime can be found at http://www.nwcu.police.uk
If you witness a suspected wildlife crime in action call 999 immediately and ask for the police.
Witnesses and anyone with information should call Dorset Police in confidence on 101, quoting incident number 09:169. Alternatively, call the free and anonymous Crimestoppers line on 0800 555 111 where mobile phone tariffs may apply.