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Badger cull: Protest camp evicted, as anarchists claim responsibility for Portishead arson

Camp Badger residents had hoped to stay in place for the cull's six-week duration

A protest camp opposing the badger cull in Somerset has been evicted.

Camp Badger, at Doniford Halt, 10 miles east of Minehead, had been used as a base since Saturday. The activists claimed to have permission to be there, but yesterday the landowner - who has not been named - arrived at the site to evict the protesters, according to a spokesman for Stop the Cull.

Twelve people camped overnight to protest over the cull and take part in patrols to protect badgers in the area.

Jay Tiernan, a spokesman for both the Stop the Cull protest group and the Coalition of Badger Action Groups said: "I wasn't here at the start so I can't comment on what agreement was made with the landowner.

"He came down this morning and we came to an amicable arrangement to leave at 4pm.

"I believe the police arrived to help negotiations but there were no problems.

"We are just working out where we will regroup and looking at potential places to go.

The Government hopes to reduce tuberculosis in cattle partly by culling badgers, which are widely blamed for spreading the disease among cows.

A six-week trial cull of badgers in Somerset and Gloucestershire, where bovine TB is rife, is due to begin with the aim of extending it across much of the country if it is deemed to be humane, efficient and safe. Around 5,000 badgers are expected to be killed in controlled shootings.

The cull has faced strong opposition, which argues that it is ineffective and unethical.

Meanwhile, an anarchist group has claimed responsibility for a fire which gutted a police firing range in north Somerset in the early hours of Tuesday.

And online post, signed from "Angry Foxes Cell in collaboration with ACAB," read: "The (under construction) Police Firearms Training Centre in Black Rock Quarry, Portishead, situated directly beneath the Avon and Somerset Police regional headquarters was our target on the night of 26th August, and we left it with flames licking high.

The group claimed to have "used accelerant to burn the major electrical cables at five junction points throughout the complex, and doused and lighted a pallet of electrical fittings and wires."

Among many motives, the post noted that the attack coincided with the start of the cull nearby.

It read: "Through attempting to facilitate the cull and stop resistance the police shore up the interests of agricultural industry and the land owning classes. We hope this will be one of many rebellions against this slaughter."

Avon and Somerset's Police and Crime Commissioner, Sue Mountstevens, described the fire as "devastating".

A spokesperson for Avon and Somerset Constabulary said: "We’re aware that someone has claimed responsibility for the fire at Black Rock Quarry yesterday but we’re keeping an open mind until a full investigation has been carried out by fire service investigators and our own police and forensics investigation team."