Thundersley Glen: Badger sett destroyed 'to make cycle track'
A long-established badger sett in woodland has been found "completely destroyed", with the RSPCA suspecting a bike trail was being made.
Essex Badger Protection Group visited Thundersley Glen, near Benfleet and found the sett totally dug out and called the animal charity.
The RSPCA has started an investigation and has appealed for information.
RSPCA inspector Adam Jones said that while "cycling can be a fun, it should not be at the expense of wildlife".
"We understand that some years ago, there were issues at this site relating to the attempted construction of cycle tracks, and it appears that the problem has started up again," he said.
"We would also remind people that it is an offence to destroy or damage a badger sett or disturb any badgers that are occupying a sett."
Chris Teeder, of the Essex Badger Protection Group - which found the set on 22 July, said: "It was very distressing for us to see this badger sett so deliberately destroyed. I hate to imagine what has happened to the badgers that were living in it.
"Many of the large trees on the site may now be dangerous as a lot of soil has been removed from around their roots and the root structures themselves have been damaged."