A GAMEKEEPER has been arrested in connection with the deaths of six badgers following a joint operation involving police and wildlife welfare officers.
Investigators swooped on a farm near Moffat, Dumfriesshire, following a tip that snares were being laid and the protected animals being killed.
As a result, the 57-year-old man, who also works as a shepherd and land manager, faces charges under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992 and the Wildlife Protection Act 1972. Killing a badger carries a maximum penalty of six months in prison or a 5,000 fine.
But at a recent case at Jedburgh Sheriff Court, an anomaly in the law was highlighted as recent legislation introduced means there is a three-year maximum sentence just for disturbing a badger's sett.
A Scottish SPCA spokesperson said: "We are delighted to have been able to work in conjunction with Dumfries and Galloway Police in this case, in order to bring about these charges.
"This shows just how well joint agency working can bring about a successful conclusion to what can be a difficult case to proceed.
"Badgers are a protected species in Scotland and can all too often be the subject of horrendous persecution. This case highlights just how seriously the law views such persecution."
A report will be submitted to the procurator-fiscal.