TWO poachers caught digging into a badger sett have been sentenced to 80 hours’ unpaid community work.
James Linsley, 27, of Barnard Castle, and Ian Blakey, 33, of Crook, were spotted disturbing the entrance to the sett at Bolton Grange, Bolton-on-Swale, near Catterick, in March.
Northallerton Magistrates Court heard police found the pair with terriers and dog collar transmitters and locators.
Magistrates ordered the destruction of their poaching equipment, which included a metal spike, and recommended that the Skoda Octavia car used by Linsley to get to the sett be permanently forfeited.
They also ordered the pair to each pay £775 towards the cost of the court case.
A North Yorkshire Police spokesman said the poachers dig around setts to provoke badgers to run into the open. He said terriers are then released to fight the creatures.
PC John Wilbor, of North Yorkshire Police, said: “This is a very satisfying result as a lot of time and effort goes into proving cases of this nature.
“I hope Linsley and Blakey’s sentences send a strong message to other criminals who are thinking of coming to North Yorkshire to prey on protected species and our rural communities in general.”