Incidents of badgers found snared have increased, according to figures recorded by charity Scottish Badgers.

Fourteen have been reported so far this year – 12 of the cases between February and June. The incidents involved 19 animals.

Ian Hutchison, of Scottish Badgers, said the organisation had been calling for snares to be outlawed.

The Scottish Government said it was an offence to set a snare in such a way that it could harm a badger.

The government said on 20 February it was not banning animal snares, but was tightening legislation on their use.

Mr Hutchison said: “Scottish Badgers is very concerned about the misuse of snares in the countryside.”

The charity’s figures showed four incidents in 2003 and again in 2004, 11 in 2005, 12 in 2006 and 10 last year.

In February, environment minister Mike Russell said alternatives to the wire traps were not always suitable, and an effective form of predator control was vital.

He told the Scottish Parliament the control of animals, such as foxes, through snares, helped maintain Scotland’s world-famous £240m shooting industry.