Arrests made in badger cull zone

Four people have been arrested within the Gloucestershire badger cull zone on suspicion of aggravated trespass.

Officers were called to Forthampton at 2am on Friday (6 September) in response to reports of horns being blown and individuals straying from a public footpath, Gloucestershire police told Farmers Weekly.

A police spokesman said: “Four people were arrested on suspicion of aggravated trespass and refused to give officers their details.

“A short while later they responded to the officer’s request for their information and were de-arrested at the scene. They were not taken to custody.”

A statement from the police added: “Our operation in the area is aimed at keeping all our communities safe and feeling safe, dealing with any incidents of crime and public disorder and facilitating people’s rights to protest.

“Our role will to be operationally independent, impartial, even-handed and fair to everyone whatever their views, interest or involvement in the pilot scheme.”

The Gloucestershire zone’s pilot cull began on Tuesday night (3 September). Like its counterpart trial in West Somerset, the aim is to assess the safety, humaneness and effectiveness of shooting as a method of killing badgers. The science behind the trial dictates that culling must take place across 70% of designated zone to bring about the required reduction in bovine TB in cattle.

That has made the Forthampton Estate a key target for anti-cull campaigners because its 121ha (3,000 acres) account for 3% of the cull zone area. The protesters hope to jeopardise the cull by putting pressure on the landowners to withdraw the land from the trial.

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