POLICE have issued a warning to landowners after a snared badger was found dumped in the middle of a road.

Wildlife officers have urged landowners to be careful when setting snares to catch rabbits or foxes following the discovery of a trapped badger on a road on the Essex/Suffolk border.

A warning has also been issued to walkers in the area to be on the lookout for snares where there are known badger runs.

The move came after members of the North East Essex Badger Group discovered a badger dumped in the road.

A post-mortem examination on the animal revealed it had died from injuries caused by the snare, which was still tangled around its body.

The group found that the snare had been cut from the tree that tethered it to the ground. It is the second incident of its type in the space of a few months – another badger was rescued after being found trapped, but alive, in a snare.

Renee Hockley-Byam, group chairman, said it was working with the RSPCA and Essex Police to catch the people responsible.

“The setting of snares is legal and they are commonly used to control foxes in areas where game birds are raised,” she added.

“The snare is an indiscriminate killer and many pets as well as livestock endure a painful and lingering death caught by this barbaric practice.”

Barry Kauffman-Wright, Essex Police wildlife liaison officer, said: “It’s not illegal to set snares for foxes and rabbits.

“But we have been talking to landowners advising them to be careful setting them in areas where there are known badger runs. A badger’s neck is the same size as those of rabbits and foxes and they can easily get trapped.”

According to the RSPCA, it is illegal under section 11 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 to deliberately snare a badger, except under special licence.

The charity’s Problems With Badgers handbook added: “Snares should never be set on a badger run or in an area of known badger activity.

“Any person setting a snare in a position where it is likely to catch a badger may be guilty of an offence, even though the aim was to catch a fox or other lawful quarry species.”

The National Federation of Badger Groups, the RSPCA, the Woodland Trust are among several groups campaigning to have snares outlawed.