CHARGES against a farmer, accused of interfering with a badger set on his land, have been dropped, a court was told today.

Mark Simpson, 45, pleaded guilty in November to two charges under the Protection of Badgers Act, which alleged he blocked the run of an active set in March this year.

However, when magistrates were told neither the RSPCA nor the local Badger Watch group monitoring his land had evidence to prove the set was occupied, the Bench ordered Mr Simpson to alter his plea to not guilty.

A new hearing was meant to have gone ahead at Richmond Magistrates Court today.

However, with no new evidence coming to light, the court was told the case against Mr Simpson of Hunter Hill Farm, Seamer, near Middlesbrough, had been discontinued.

No further action will be taken against him.