Badger cull protesters 'were not shot at'
No further action is to be taken by police after an investigation into claims that badger cull protesters were shot at in Somerset.
A complaint was made to Avon and Somerset Police that campaigners had been fired upon at a remote location in West Somerset on the night of September 7 in what was described as a clear act of "intimidation". Police officers responded to an emergency call from protesters who had been walking at Rook's Nest, near Lydeard St Lawrence, outside the cull zone.
A spokesman for the force said: "We have been informed by a party walking near Lydeard St Lawrence that they heard shots fired nearby at around 9.15pm on September 7.
"Enquiries identified the landowner who voluntarily attended a police station to answer questions about the incident. Having spoken to him, we are satisfied that he was lawfully on his land with a shotgun to shoot rabbits. The shots were fired in the opposite direction to members of the public and there is no evidence to suggest any were directed towards the copse where people were present. No offences were committed and no further action will be taken."
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The trial cull of badgers, one strand of the Government's strategy for bovine TB which has ravaged herds across Devon and Cornwall, started on Exmoor on August 26. A pilot cull is also being held in Gloucestershire. Shooting of free-running badgers will take place over six continuous weeks. If successful and proved to be a safe and humane way of killing badgers, the culls could be rolled out across the country.