A respected farm manager and gamekeeper has received a record £3,500 fine after he pled guilty to killing four badgers by capturing them in snares and shooting them in the head.

Anthony Rodgers, 57, of Breconside Farm, Moffat, admitted that between 1 January and 4 April 2008 he set snares near a badger set at Crockett Wood.

He also admitted failing to check the snares between 2 and 4 April.

The Scottish SPCA described the crime as “horrific” and welcomed the fine imposed at Dumfries Sheriff Court.

Scottish SPCA Ch Supt Mike Flynn said: “Overall, we believe that snaring is a cruel and indiscriminate practice which causes a great deal of unnecessary suffering in Scotland.

“While in this instance Rogers set legal, free-running snares, he used them illegally and showed a callous and cruel disregard for the badgers he trapped and then killed in a horrific manner.

“If a badger is caught in a snare it will fight against the wire holding it and go to great lengths to free itself from immense pain, which only causes it to suffer further. There was clear evidence of this behaviour in this case.”

Badgers are a protected species under the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981 and the Protection of Badgers Act of 1992.

Ian Hutchison, spokesman for Scottish Badgers, said: “We would like to congratulate the Scottish SPCA for their diligence.

“These badgers were killed in a disgusting fashion, which we believe is reflected in the fine imposed.”