POLICE in Derbyshire are backing a national campaign to cut cruelty to badgers after incidents in the area, including at Bolsover.
Derbyshire Police is supporting Operation Meles – aimed at catching criminals who harm the protected animals in sick blood sports.
Officers said there has been a recent spate of badger cruelty across the county.
In Bolsover, police found a dead badger near a dug-up sett while residents have voiced concerns about people going door-to-door asking for locations of dens.
Sgt Darren Belfield, the force’s rural, environmental and wildlife crime officer, said officers were keen to speak to anyone with information about people involved in badger baiting, digging or lamping.
“It is a cruel and abhorrent activity wrongly seen as a sport by some people,” he said.
Some people bet money on the outcome of badger baiting – where fierce dogs attack the animals, sometimes killing them.
Digging is when offenders use dogs to disturb badgers in setts while lamping involves people using powerful torches to find badgers then training dogs to follow the light in order to catch the animals.
Irene Brierton, chair of mid Derbyshire Badger Group, said: “We really welcome this campaign and hope it makes a difference.”
Badgers are protected by law and baiters could be jailed for up to six months and slapped with a big fine.
l Anyone with information about badger cruelty should call Derbyshire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 111 555.