Badgers have left grieving families in “extreme distress” after a colony of the animals made a cemetery in Northumberland their home. The badgers have wrecked graves and dug up burial plots in recent months, prompting an outcry among residents in Berwick-upon-Tweed – and the problem appears “to be getting worse”. However, badgers are protected animals by law, meaning locals will face severe difficulties in handling the issue.
The badger chaos at Tweedmouth cemetery has gone on for roughly 17 months, according to local residents.
The protected status means the badgers have been left to breed at the cemetery, despite growing anger at the situation.
Mourning families have seen graves of loved ones dug over and covered in mud.
A local resident who lives nearby spotted as many as 40 badgers on a single walk through the graveyard.
The local resident told North News: “It’s a hard one because nobody wants to harm the badgers and they are protected but nobody wants our loved ones burial spots damaged either.
“I know people affected by it. It’s a very small town where everybody knows each other.
“There’s one family in particular who have had a relative’s grave been dug and disturbed on 18 out of the last 21 days which is extremely distressing.”
Georgina Hill, a county councillor for Berwick East, told the BBC that “there’s a big problem with badgers which have been there for months”.
There are exceptions, for example to protect “land, crops, poultry or any other form of property” but first a licence must be granted by Natural England.
County Council has tried to reassure local residents by insisting they are doing all they can to resolve the problem by carrying out inspections of the cemetery.
Northumberland Council said it “fully understand people’s concerns” and the “distress that this might cause to families who have loved ones buried there”.
A spokesman warned: “We would urge people not to take matters into their own hands.”