Illegal hunters are targeting badgers and foxes at a Crosland Hill beauty spot.

There have been reports of three badgers being found dead and one fox cub being shot in the heart in the last week alone.

Residents say the area near Hill Tree Park, off Blackmoorfoot Road, was once a haven for wildlife but now claim hunters are wiping out wildlife and destroying the tranquil setting.

Badgers and their setts are protected by law. It is an offence to kill or injure a badger under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992.

Hill Tree Park is an estate of park homes for older people and residents say they are living in fear of what might happen.

One of them, Janet Secker, 60, said: “We have had three badgers killed and a fox cub shot directly in the heart.

Janet Secker (foreground) and Linda Evanson, both residents of Hill Tree Park, Crosland Hill, pictured near the site of the shooting.
Janet Secker (foreground) and Linda Evanson, both residents of Hill Tree Park, Crosland Hill, pictured near the site of the shooting.
 

“I heard the shot which killed the fox cub. A man was walking his sheep dogs and he bolted over to where the shot had come from and confronted the man who had fired the shot.

“The man threw the fox cub into a bush and they ran off to a car which was parked at the bottom of the airfield.”

Janet is also worried her pet cat, which is ginger, may be mistaken for a fox and suffer the same fate.

She added: “This is not hunting for pleasure, this is something that’s done secretively. Why are they shooting less than 100 yards away from homes?

“It was a clear, sharp shot. Not like a shotgun.

“I would hate to think that the ecology of this area is being damaged by whoever is going round shooting at wild animals. It’s really disturbing.”

Janet has reported what happened to police and has been visited by West Yorkshire Police’s wildlife officer, who is investigating.

In 2011 West Yorkshire Police launched a campaign to tackle badger baiters, who were causing major problems in Huddersfield.

West Yorkshire Police launched Operation Meles – a big crackdown on the men who catch badgers to fight with dogs

At the time Det Con Brian Butterworth, the police wildlife officer in Kirklees, said: “It is a big concern and it is getting worse.

An injured badger caught in a home-made snare
An injured badger caught in a home-made snare
 

“Badger baiting is a massive problem in South Yorkshire and we are now finding these men are crossing the borders into our area to ply their trade."

Police released the shocking picture above of a young badger who had been caught in a homemade snare in Holmfirth.

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