People committing barbaric crimes against wildlife in Derbyshire will be put behind bars.
The stark warning came from a judge this week as he jailed three men who let their dogs attack a badger in the county - the latest in a long list of crimes against wildlife in Derbyshire.
Deputy district judge Derek French jailed Danny Green, 27, Kyle Green, 24, and Martin Skinner, 29, for 12 weeks and told them: “This demonstrates that if anyone commits any such barbaric behaviour they can expect to go into custody.”
But Derbyshire Badger Trust workers says this case is just the tip of the iceberg - and they hope the sentence will deter others.
Irene Brierton, chairman of the trust, said: “There are a few individuals who engage in lamping as a recreational pursuit. It is awful and people find it abhorrent.
“Most people would be horrified at the sort of things that happen and the cruelty that takes place. Derbyshire police are reacting very well and have a team of wildlife officers.”
She added: “We are not going to tolerate this kind of thing.
“It is not welcome in Derbyshire and is not welcome anywhere else. Reports of it happening are acted on and we try to catch the perpetrators,” she said.
The defendants in the case, who travelled from outside of Derbyshire, claimed they were not involved in badger-baiting.
However, they later admitted their intention had been to go ‘lamping’ for rabbits and accepted the dogs had got hold of a badger.
Tim Birch, head of advocacy and conservation strategy at Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, said: “This is the latest in a long list of crimes against wildlife in Derbyshire. Bird of prey persecution, crimes against badgers and countless other cases are reported every year.
“The latest attack highlights the threat that wildlife is facing in our county and it needs to stop.”