Richard Crompton, ACPO lead on wildlife crime, will chair the launch of Operation Meles, a UK-wide intelligence-led police operation gathering evidence of badger persecution and targeting offenders.

The launch of Operation Meles, a UK-wide intelligence-led police operation gathering evidence of badger persecution and targeting offenders, will be chaired by Richard Crompton, Association of Chief Police Officers lead on wildlife crime.

UK Badger Incidents 2009-2010, by Ian HutchisonMr Crompton, chief constable of Lincolnshire, has agreed to chair the keynote meeting in Sheffield on September 20, and will also deliver the opening address.

The launch is just one of a coordinated series of public meetings and press conferences to promote Operation Meles, all of which will also include details of a report entitled UK Badger Incidents 2009-2010, exposing the known extent of badger-related incidents in the UK.

The report by Ian Hutchison, UK crime prevention lead for Operation Meles, is based on data compiled by the National Wildlife Crime Unit (NWCU).

National launch meetings will take place concurrently in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland on September 20, while an additional meeting in England will take place a day later in the East Midlands.

Mervyn Anthony, director of the Badger Trust, said: “Badgers are not only cruelly baited but also sealed in setts and buried alive, snared, shot, poisoned and tortured, but most of these crimes go unreported.

“This new report reveals only the tip of the iceberg and we are appealing for the public as well as our own badger group members and supporters to record and report any evidence. Each of the meetings will feature an illustrated presentation showing appalling injuries to animals, digging in progress, and the known extent of reported crime.”

To aid public reporting, the Badger Trust will be distributing, through the nationwide network of badger groups, special Operation Meles witness evidence notebooks to ensure that evidence of incidents is quickly, correctly and consistently recorded. Posters and leaflets are also available through the trust’s website.

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