Live bullets found after badger cull protesters claimed they were 'shot' at in Gloucestershire
LIVE ammunition was handed over to police officers in the badger cull zone early yesterday morning after protestors claimed they were shot at.
Three people had arrived at Town Street Farm in Tirley close to midnight last night when they heard two gunshots.
A third shot then rang out in their direction, forcing them to take cover.
Searching for the source of the gunshot, they discovered the box containing 16 unused bullets, which they claimed were left behind by the marksmen, on a footpath.
The badger cull has been going on for the past month in West Gloucestershire, including the nearby Forthampton Estate.
Marcie Harding, a martial art instructor, was one of those who found the ammunition.
She said: "It is just outrageous. It is quite clearly stated in their licence that they cannot shoot when there are people in the area.
"I was concerned about the badgers, and have been out over the last four weeks, but I never had this trouble. We have met shooters before, and we were on public footpaths."
The ammunition was handed to police officers, and an investigation has been launched into tracing the person responsible.
Chief Superintendent Gary Thompson said: "We're really grateful to those who handed in the ammunition.
"We are making inquiries into who left it there and will take appropriate action as soon as we can identify the person.
"We take this very seriously because as we have said public safety has been our key objective throughout the operation."
Defra has refused to comment while investigations are ongoing.
Gloucestershire Constabulary has been carrying out Operation Themis, the force's response to the badger cull. Four people were arrested overnight as part of the operation.
A 37-year-old Coventry woman was arrested on suspicion of breach of an injunction at around 10.30pm yesterday after reports of "excessive noise".
In a separate incident, a 44-year-old woman, a 14-year-old girl from Didcot and a 25-year-old man of no fixed abode, were arrested in the Tibberton area around 11.30pm, on suspicion of aggravated trespass.
All four remained in police custody when the Citizen went to print.