Berwick badger campaigners hope petition will make bosses take them ‘seriously’
Rising fears about the impact of badgers on Berwick's Tweedmouth Cemetery have prompted campaigners to start a petition, in the hope of forcing bosses into action.
Concern has been mounting for several months among some families that the animals could damage memorials, or even start to unearth remains.
And after rapidly raising awareness of the issue, some think there may now be enough public support to push for a solution.
“The title [of the petition is] ‘Protect our loved ones – remove the badgers humanely and safely’,” said Alana Brown, who has been documenting the mammals’ presence.
“We appreciate the badgers are highly protected and no one wants to hurt them, but we also want to protect our loved ones, so please remove them humanely and safely.
“I’m hoping that with the petition they will start to take us more seriously.”
A Facebook group started by Mrs Brown to highlight issues in the cemetery has seen almost 1,000 people sign up in just a few weeks.
She hopes this will form the basis of support for an online petition, once it has been approved by Northumberland County Council.
A paper version is also expected to be started for anyone concerned about the issue, but without internet access.
Fears have been raised about the possible consequences if the badgers continue to cause damage to graves and the wider cemetery, such as digging over ground, undermining headstones or even uncovering remains.
This has prompted some campaigners to suggest they would camp out to protect it, rather than risk seeing traps or poison set by others if something is not done.
Badgers and their setts are protected under law, making it an offence to intentionally attempt to kill, injure or trap one, or interfere with their habitats.
There are some exceptions to this, such as in the cases of organised badger culls, but they require a special licence.
Both the council and the Northumberland Wildlife Trust have urged the public not to take matters into their own hands.
A council spokesman said: “We have received this petition which will be considered by the North Northumberland Local Area Council in due course.
“Following this there may be recommendations to full council, Cabinet, a regulatory committee or another body, or to council officers.”