BADGER baiters have struck for the second time in a week in Gwent.

As reported in yesterday's Argus, Gwent Badger Society (GBG) members discovered a dug-out sett near Pontypool on New Year's Eve.

Then on Saturday, they had a second alert of badger diggers at a sett between Monmouth and Chepstow.

A police investigation is ongoing.

Badger digging involves excavating a sett and pulling badgers out for use in baiting - an illegal blood sport where badgers are forced to fight dogs.

Steve Clark, chairman of the group, said: "A local resident spotted the men, with shovels and dogs at around 8am and called us."

Mr Clark alerted the police and headed for the site but the diggers managed to get away before officers found them.

The large sett, which had more than 20 badger holes, was located near farmland and woodland.

But Mr Clark is concerned to have discovered two badger digging incidents in one week.

"It's an unusual increase and really alarming," he said.

"If this is how the year continues, it will be challenging for us."

Last year, GBG attended around 20 dug out setts in total.

Information gathered at the scene suggests the diggers were from outside Gwent.

And Mr Clark says this attack has further worrying implications.

"We have a database of 300 to 400 setts across Gwent and this one was not on our list, which means these diggers really know what they're doing," he said.

"We are grateful to the officers who attended the incident for their rapid response to track down these barbaric individuals."

He is urging people to call the GBG hotline if they suspect people are badger digging or baiting on 07831 623627 or via their website