Badger have long been a target for animal cruelty including dog-baiting and other animal welfare crimes which impact both badgers and their setts. Badgers are a protected species in the UK. It is illegal to interfere with or disturb a badger or a badger sett under the Protection of Badgers Act, 1992. Punishment includes an unlimited fine and up to 6 months in prison under current legislation.
Setts are sometimes deliberately blocked to avoid them being used as a refuge or escape route for badgers, foxes and other animals being persecuted through hunting and as a result of anti-social behaviour. All sett interference or disturbance of any kind is a crime unless carried out under license from Natural England.
By monitoring setts we can identify all signs of interference, sometimes even record it, and report it to the authorities. We work closely with the Hampshire Rural Crime Teams' wildlife crime investigation officers to protect our badgers and on other incidents of potential wildlife crime we encounter or on which the team asks for our input.