A couple say they have been left with nowhere to turn after a badger made itself at home under their garden shed.
Margaret and Gordon Blanks, who live in a council flat in Ponsmere Road, Perranporth, said that the large hole appeared on Monday (July 2).
The shed is in communal gardens at the back of their flat, meaning that other people need access past it, as well as the couple themselves.
The earth that has been dug up has partially covered the pathway, making it difficult to pass, especially for elderly residents – but Mr and Mrs Blanks have been told to leave it as it is.
Mrs Blanks said: “I got up in the morning to find out there was a large hole underneath the shed.
“My husband rang up the council and they didn’t want to know.
“I rang up the RSPCA and it took me an hour to get through. I was told to not fill the hole up and leave it, as it’s a protected species.”
She said she was told to ring an expert in Newquay, which she did.
Mrs Blanks added: “He said the same thing to me – don’t fill the hole up, it’s very likely to be breeding season and she’s very likely to be pregnant.
“He said I could try to fill it up if it leaves. I can’t spend 24 hours sitting outside the hole waiting for the damn thing to come out, can I?
“Nobody wants to know – the hole is near the water pipe and sewerage pipe. People can’t pass because of the dirt.
“If it is breeding it’s going to be vicious.
“I’m just fed up. All I get told is this is a protected species and I’m not allowed to do anything.”
She said that her insurance company told her that the contents of the shed were covered, but not the shed itself.
Mr Blanks added: “The contents are worth 10 times what the shed is worth.”
Cornwall Council, which runs the flats through its company Cornwall Housing, said it had now spoken to the Blanks.
A spokesman said: “Badgers are protected by law and we would have to follow legal mechanisms if we were to seek to remove it.
“Having met the residents, it seems the presence of the badger isn’t the issue, rather the mess it has made on the nearby path while digging.
“Even though landlords do not have a legal responsibility for badger activity, we will be going out to clear this up and have asked to be kept informed of any further problems resulting from the badger’s excavations.”
The law on disturbing badgers and badger setts
The RSPCA says on its website:
- Willfully kill, injure or take a badger (or attempt to do so).
- Cruelly ill-treat a badger.
- Dig for a badger.
- Intentionally or recklessly damage or destroy a badger sett, or obstruct access to it.
- Cause a dog to enter a badger sett.
- Disturb a badger when it is occupying a sett.
But there are exceptions. Licences to undertake some actions can be issued if it is justified, for example where a badger sett is found on a proposed site for a road or housing development.