Police Community Support Officer John Bordiss, a wildlife crime officer with the Rural Crime Team, inspected a site on Roundway Downs Devizes after receiving reports that a badger sett had been dug out and destroyed.

Local people advised that a woman's terrier entered the badger sett, which is immediately next to a byway, sometime on Thursday and was later joined by a man who also started digging to retrieve the dog.

The Wiltshire Police Rural Crime Team works closely with many wildlife and conservation groups and other agencies at county, regional and National levels.

It is understood from the Wiltshire Badger Group that badgers were known to be active in the sett and have now left due to the digging out/disturbance.

Disturbance of badger setts is illegal under the 1992 Badger Act.

In this instance, the badger sett has been totally destroyed at the most sensitive time of year when badgers are still looking after their young. Had the dog owners taken advice from police, Badger Trust or the RSPCA, they would have been informed not to touch the sett but to be patient. In 99 per cent of cases, dogs get themselves out within 48 hours with no damage or injury to dog or badger.

Anyone with information regarding this incident or individuals involved is asked to contact Wiltshire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers 0800 555 111.