THE discovery of a dead badger in west Oxfordshire has renewned concerns about people deliberately tampering with badger setts.

Police discovered the animal last week in Centenary Woods, near Ticknell Place in Charlbury.

They also found evidence that nearby setts had been interfered with.

Pc Simon Towers, a wildlife crime officer based at Witney police station, discovered the sett had been filled in with stones and debris.

They are now appealing for anyone, including the many dog walkers who use the woods, to come forward with information.

However, Pc Towers said there was no evidence that badger baiting had taken place, and that the sett may have been filled in by children.

He said: “We are not classifying this as a criminal offence, but we would like to find out if anyone knows how the sett came to be filled in.

“Our main aim in this case is to educate people about the potential harm caused to badgers by disturbing their natural habitat.

“We always investigate when concerns have been raised over the welfare of badgers.”

Penny Little, founder of the Little Foxes animal sanctuary in Great Haseley, said: “Interfering with a badger sett is illegal, even if an animal is not harmed. Anyone who tampers with a sett, or lets their dog enter one is breaking the law.”