Gloucestershire police have arrested a man after a late-night incident in which one badger cull protester is alleged to have been assaulted and another’s car wing mirrors were ripped off.
Meg Jones, 34, an anti-badger cull protester, told The Independent she was with a group of two other activists who were monitoring a badger sett when they heard shooting in the area. The group split up to look for the marksmen, with the aim of disrupting the shooting.
Ms Jones, from Gloucestershire, said she was following a public footpath when a car with four men in it pulled up beside her. “Two men got out the car and were shouting and screaming at me,” she said.
She alleges that the men started screaming at her and tried to stop her calling the police. “One of the men was shaking my shoulders and hitting my arm, trying to prevent me from making a call to the police,” she said. “I backed away, screaming my lungs off. I was pretty scared. I was on my own; I thought I was going to get beaten up.”
When she got back to her car, parked on a nearby road, she found that it had been vandalised. “It had its wing mirrors pulled off and had been dented,” she said. When Ms Jones and one of the other activists tried to photograph the incident, they were assaulted by one of the men in the car, she claimed. “We tried to take photos of the men and I went towards their car with a male companion. A man with a beard jumped out of the car to try and get our phones. He was attacking my friend, had him in a body lock bear hug, punching him in the head. I was totally terrified.”
Roger Warner, master of the Ledbury Hunt, who is alleged to have been present at the altercation, has declined to comment.
The badger cull pilots aim to tackle tuberculosis in cattle by shooting about 5,000 badgers over a six-week period in two areas of Gloucestershire and Somerset.
Gloucestershire Police said officers working as part of Operation Themis, the policing response to the badger cull, were called to an incident around 11.30pm on Thursday in the Tirley area. A 38-year-old man from the Gloucester area, who has not been identified, was arrested on suspicion of common assault. He has been bailed until 4 November.