Loud bangs in Gloucestershire badger cull zones because of crow scarers, not fireworks
POLICE officers have assured badger cull protestors in Gloucestershire that bangs heard by them were not gunshots.
Members of from the wounded badger patrols in Tibebrton reported to the police on Tuesday, around 12.30am, that they were being ‘shot at’ by marksmen.
Police initially said they were fireworks, but it has now been established as crow scarers. A spokeswoman for the police said they have examined the causes “thoroughly”.
She added that the crow scarers do not use projectiles and no criminal offences have been committed.
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“We understand that for those members of the wounded badger patrol hearing loud bangs while in the area would have caused great concern and so officers immediately worked to identify that there were no contractors and no culling activity taking place,” she said.
“Those members of the public in the area were informed of this to offer them reassurance that there was no risk to their safety.”
Officers have been out in the cull zones as part of their response – themed Operation Themis – to the badger cull.
The spokeswoman said: “We have, and will, continue to facilitate peaceful legal protest and if any protestors would like to speak to us there are two dedicated liaison officers available each night.
“The liaison officers are trained and selected to undertake the role and are deployed specifically to talk to people or groups of protestors about their concerns and ensure everyone understands what the police are doing and why.”
Nick Berry, from the group Gloucestershire Against Badger Shooting, said yesterday they would put in a formal complaint.
He added: “The incident on Monday night was horrendous for our patrollers. It was either a deliberate attempt to harass law-abiding individuals or a botched attempt at culling badgers which put people’s lives at risk.
“We have been very disappointed that the police have refused to take the matter further and so we are making a formal complaint as well as taking advice as to whether or not the cull operators are in breach of their culling licence agreement.
“We have asked the PCC, Martin Surl, to ensure that the police take an even-handed approach because at the moment this does not seem to be the case.”
Three people were arrested in the early hours of this morning (Thursday) as part of Operation Themis.
A 20-year-old man from Walsall, a 52-year-old woman from Pittsburg in the United States of America and a 26-year-old woman from South Croyden in Surrey were all arrested at around 1.45am on suspicion of aggravated trespass. They were arrested in the Kent's Green area of Newent.
All three currently remain in police custody.