NEW evidence of barbaric badger baiters operating in Gwent was found in a horrifying discovery near Pontypool.

Gwent Badger Group discovered a sett in the area known as Goytre Wharf, which had been dug out on New Years Eve, after a report from a member of the public.

He is convinced the act was carried out by hardened wildlife criminals determined to pull a badger from the sett to use for badger baiting.

Steve Clark, the group's chairman said: "An area three metres long over the sett had been disturbed and logs had been jammed down into the hole."

When the logs were removed the true extent of the damage was revealed.

Mr Clark said: "We found the hole had been dug to a depth of two metres which indicates a determined effort to take a badger."

Badger baiting is an illegal and brutal sport where badgers and dogs are forced to fight.

Mr Clark said: "It is common practice for baiters to break a badger's leg with a spade or pull its front claws out to weaken it before forcing it to fight with dogs.

"The badger would meet a slow, agonising death."

Now the Gwent Badger Group is appealing for help in combating this practice in South Wales, which was recently identified by Naturewatch and Crimestoppers as the worst area in the UK for badger digging.

The punishment for badger digging can be severe, with fines of up to £5,000 and six months prison, in addition to confiscation of vehicles and other property.

The GBG has a 24 hour emergency hotline for anonymous reports of offences on 07831 623627 or via their website They need a description of the suspects plus details of any suspicious vehicles including model, colour and registration number.