A little local trouble

A weekly round-up of rural rows
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Environmentalists have taken to the treetops to protest against plans to turn a nature reserve near Swansea into the biggest coal extraction site in Europe. Members of Earth First have built houses and aerial walkways in trees at Selar, in the picturesque Neath Valley. Sympathetic locals are supplying food and hot drinks. Roy Day, a retired electrician, said: "I don't know where they have come from, but we appreciate what they are doing." Celtic Energy say they are committed to the preservation of the environment and hope to move the grassland to another site.

Badgers are making the lives of villages in Charleton, Devon, "a misery". More than 50 residents have signed a petition to the South Hams District Council asking for something to be done about the animals which rootle up their lawns nightly. A local badger expert said the badgers were just foraging for food where they always had, and the gardens of the village's new retirement homes were an excellent source of worms and leatherjackets.

Local residents are offering a pounds 100 reward for information about the person who shot dead a pair of swans on the Muirtown canal in Inverness. And in Staffordshire, local hunts are offering pounds 200 to anyone who knows who stole three foxhound puppies from a farmyard. Animal rights activists are suspected.

In Newcastle,a farmer was arrested and charged with criminal damage after spraying a bank with silage. David Cannon, 67, drove his tractor - with muck-spreader in tow - along Moseley Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, and showered the facade of a branch of the National Westminster Bank with fermenting goo. Local authority workers later had to clean it up. Mr Cannon accuses the bank of taking money from his account without his permission. Four years ago he staged a similar protest on the offices of Northumberland County Council in Morpeth.