A BADGER sett has been illegally disturbed in Ayrshire, it has emerged.
The Scottish SPCA was alerted when a member of the public spotted the dug-out sett on Tuesday at Auchinleck Estate near Cumnock.
It is an offence to dig for a badger or damage a badger sett in any way under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992.
An undercover inspector with the Scottish SPCA’s Special Investigations Unit said: “There is a large area of recently disturbed soil so we believe the sett may have been dug recently.
“It is an active sett and we are very concerned to learn that there has been digging there.
“We’d like to stress that this incident is in no way linked to Auchinleck Estate and they are assisting us with our enquiries.
“The practice of digging out badger setts is linked to badger baiting, a barbaric crime which has no place in modern society.
“Our Special Investigations Unit gathers intelligence on this type of activity and we are determined to pursue those involved in the persecution of badgers.
“We are urging anyone with information relating to this incident to contact our Animal Helpline on 03000 999 999.
“Information can be given anonymously and all calls are treated in strict confidence.”