Badgers suffocated in flattened sett in Poole nature reserve
A family of badgers is believed to have suffocated after a sett at a nature reserve was deliberately destroyed.
A dog walker discovered the entrances to the sett at Bourne Valley Nature Reserve in Poole, Dorset, had been blocked and the area flattened.
Police said they believed builder's sand and tools had been used.
Officers said badgers normally give birth to their cubs at this time of year and described the incident as a "sickening act".
'Brutality of crimes'
Dorset Police wildlife crime officer PC Claire Dinsdale said: "Disturbing or damaging a badger sett is a criminal offence.
"Badgers have legal protection because of the sheer brutality of crimes against their species.
"This is a sickening act. Badgers normally give birth to their cubs at this time of year. Any family in the sett would have suffocated.
"The offenders have spent a great deal of time and effort to ensure all escape routes were blocked."
No arrests have been made.