Campaigners target Forthampton in badger cull protest
CAMPAIGNERS aiming to stop badgers being shot as part of a major cull have descended on Forthampton.
Around 80 protesters made their way to Forthampton Estate, near Tewkesbury, to look for evidence of shooting.
Police officers filled the streets on Sunday to help keep the peace while a police helicopter was also sent in.
Residents said the day had passed without incident with many saying the protestors were not focusing their efforts on any of the residents.
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Natural England issued the first licence authorising the cull last month, although it is believed a cull of badgers has not yet begun.
Forthampton Estate,covers 3,000 acres – around three per cent of the cull zone.
It is understood the estate's owners are in favour of the cull.
Protestors took to the estate's many footpaths to survey for badger setts, as well as looking for evidence of any shooting.
Concerned estate staff kept a close eye on the campaigners, to keep them away from the game bird breeding facilities and release pens.
The estate also had private security guarding key buildings, protestors claimed.
Lee Moon, spokesperson for the Hunt Saboteurs' Association, said: "This was an exercise in showing the cost of being involved in the cull.
"No one broke the law or went anywhere they weren't allowed, yet Forthampton Estate felt the need to bring all their staff in on a Sunday and even employ extra security while the police were out in force to watch people strolling around the countryside.
"With so many footpaths, Forthampton Estate and many other landowners in the cull zones will find it difficult to stop legal opposition to the unscientific, immoral badger cull."
Fred Remmer, who lives near to the estate, said the area had been remained relatively quiet despite the arrival of the protesters.
"We didn't see a lot of campaigners around here, although the police were all out in the streets," he added.
"There are some people who are a little concerned by it but in the main, most of us are just taking it as it comes.
"The protestors didn't cause any damage."
Steve Maycock, manager at the Lower Lode Inn, said more people were concerned about the lack of information being made available about the cull.
"Many people are not happy as they do not know who is shooting and when," he said.
"If we had more information, then people would feel a lot better about it.
"Everyone coming into the pub is of the same mind – we don't know how they are going to shoot dead a badger with one shot in the pitch black."