POLICE are investigating an attack on a badger sett.
Durham Badger Group said the sett, near Sedgefield, had been dug out and large logs inserted in the holes.
The animals are targeted because they are used in illegal badger-baiting, in which dogs are set against badgers, with bets made on the outcome of the fights.
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Police and badger group members, who visited the scene of the latest attack, believe the sett may have been targeted previously.
A spokesman for the badger group said: "This was a very serious dig at a vulnerable sett.
"We still do not know if any badgers have been left alive in the sett. We and the police will be watching it very closely in the future."
The spokesman said some setts in the county had been marked with smart-water, which allows police to track perpetrators.
Anyone with information on the latest attack is asked to call their local police station or Durham Wildlife Trust on 0191-584-3112.