COUNTRYSIDE campaigners are concerned after a snare was found in a strip of woodland where a badger was trapped last year.
The trap was discovered in an area near Intake Lane, in Frosterley, Weardale, in exactly the same place as a similar device last year.
On that occasion, a badger was freed by the RSPCA after struggling for up to 24 hours, and it is feared another animal could suffer the same ordeal.
The snare was discovered by John Gill, from Castleside, Consett, who was checking the land as part of his 15-year campaign against the devices.
He said: “It sickens me when I see snares, but it’s especially bad because of what happened last April to that badger.
“The snare was green, to blend in with the undergrowth, and there were barriers placed towards the branches and trees to lure badgers towards the snare.
“It’s not just badgers, but other wildlife that get caught in these, and they are so helpless.”
Mr Gill – who began his crusade after his dog died after being snared – removed a snare from the spot about two weeks ago, but a few days later, he returned and saw that it had been reset.
Under British law, the use of some snares by gamekeepers and landowners is permitted, but they must be checked regularly to ensure no large creatures are trapped.
A spokeswoman for the Durham County Badger Group, said they had joined similar groups from around the country in calling for snares to be banned because they were so indiscriminate.
Simon Wild, of the National Anti-Snaring Campaign, which is lobbying for a ban on all the devices, said: “We are concerned about it.
“The law is rather vague on setting snares in relation to badgers.”
“You have got to really have it placed on a badger run or sett for it to be breaking the law.
“But where there have already been badgers caught in the past, people really shouldn’t be setting snares.”