NIGHT-TIME poachers, known as lampers, have been blamed for the death of a badger.

Jean Thorpe, who runs a wildlife sanctuary in Norton, said she had been called to a field between Welham Road, Norton, and Stamford Bridge, on Monday night where the animal had been found. It had been bludgeoned on the head with a blunt instrument.

The police and RSPCA have been called in to investigate, said Mrs Thorpe, because there have been a number of instances of badgers, foxes and deer being killed by poachers.

She added that tyre marks in the form of a circle had been found around the badger and there was evidence that it had been held by a dog before being killed.

"Farmers are concerned about lampers operating in the area committing such cruel acts," said Mrs Thorpe.