Turriff man fined £680 for ‘unintentional’ actions
A badger sett was destroyed by a bulldozer at woodland near Turriff during work to make a fire break, a court heard yesterday.
A track was cleared and levelled through the creatures’ home at Hospital Wood, St Mary’s Well, Turriff, by plant operator Michael Duguid.
Banff Sheriff Court was told yesterday that he was unaware of badgers in the area and his actions had not been intentional.
Duguid, 58, of Ponoka, Riddoch Road, Turriff, admitted a contravention of the Protection of Badgers Act 1992 and was fined £680.
Fiscal depute Alasdair Fay said Duguid’s culpability was at the bottom end of the scale and the contractor was unfortunate to have been in the wrong place.
Mr Fay said: “He put in the fire break as instructed but there was a large badger sett which he went through the middle of.
“He was in complete ignorance of the sett and in such terrain, you would have had to look for it to find it.”
Solicitor Stuart Beveridge said Duguid accepted, as contractor, that he should have checked the site himself before starting work, but insisted his actions had not been intentional and said he had been on a “steep learning curve” in relation to badger areas.
“He had only once before worked where there were badger setts, and then the ground had been pegged out,” he said.
Mr Beveridge said that since the incident, on January 30, 2009, Duguid had worked on the Fochabers bypass where setts were also marked out.
“He is now very aware of what requires to be done to ensure setts are not disturbed,” he said.
He added that, despite the damage to the sett at Turriff, there had been evidence of badger activity in the area since the incident happened.
Sheriff Patrick Davies said the fine would punish Duguid and alert others in similar positions to the danger of offending.