Portstewart man fined for destroying badger sett

European badger (Meles meles), young cub foraging in daylight, England, UK
European badger (Meles meles), young cub foraging in daylight, England, UK

The Northern Ireland Badger Group has welcomed the prosecution of a developer for destroying a badger sett on land at Hillsborough.

At Lisburn Magistrates Court, developer Bill Porter, of Ballyreagh Road, Portstewart pleaded guilty in relation to the destruction of a badger sett in the Carnreagh/Downshire Crescent area of the village in October 2015.

The badger sett was in a field where heavy machinery was being used to clear the site. The sett, which was in use at the time, was being monitored by local residents.

Mr Porter was prosecuted for offences under the Wildlife Order 1985 (as amended by the Wildlife and Natural Environment Act (NI) 2011), namely, disturbing an animal while it was occupying a structure or place for shelter or protection, as well as intentionally or recklessly damaging or destroying a structure used by an animal for shelter or protection.

He was fined a total of £1,000 and ordered to pay an offender levy of £15.

Two workmen received cautions for their part in the destruction of the badger sett.

A spokesperson for the Northern Ireland Badger Group said: “We are very pleased to see a successful prosecution in this case. The police and prosecution team are to be congratulated for their diligence in achieving this outcome.

“We expect developers and others to take a more responsible approach with regard to wildlife protection and follow proper planning procedures.”

Guidelines exist to help them carry out their business within the law.”

Anyone concerned about threats to badgers or other protected species from development should contact their the local Council Planning Office. Wildlife crime, such as the disturbance of badgers or their setts, should be reported to the police by calling 101.