A WORCESTERSHIRE woman has been arrested on suspicion of theft and aggravated trespass, as part of the police response to the current badger cull.

The controversial cull, aimed at tackling tuberculosis (TB) in cattle, is believed to have started on the Gloucestershire-Worcestershire border last week.

A 46-year-old woman from Evesham, a 46-year-old woman from Cheltenham, a 34-year-old woman from Gloucester and a 23-year-old man from Mansfield were arrested at about 3.10am on Tuesday.

They were arrested in Redmarley, near Ledbury, as part of Operation Themis – Gloucestershire Constabulary’s response to the badger cull.

The 34-year-old woman was also arrested on suspicion of possession of an offensive weapon. All four have been released on bail and are due back at Cheltenham police station on Tuesday, November 5.

Liz Gaffer, of Gloucestershire Against Badger Shooting, said up to 50 people had been out every night on ‘wounded badger patrols’ since the cull began.

“We’ve been having two or three patrols a night covering different areas,” she said. “They are very clear about staying within the law.

“Every bit of the badger patrol abides within the law. The police have been around to keep an eye on the patrols.”

Rock star Brian May, a leading opponent of the cull, joined protesters on walks across the pilot area including Newent and Eldersfield, Malvern, at the weekend.

Kay Edwards, casualty manager at Vale Wildlife Hospital and Rehabilitation Centre in Beckford, near Evesham, said the charity was yet to see any fall-out from the cull, but was prepared for action.

“We’ve not yet had any animals in or any calls about animals that have been wounded, but we have got somebody on standby 24 hours a day,” she said.

“It’s just a case of if anything does come in, we’ve got to get as much information as possible and x-ray any wounds that could be as a result of the cull. We also have a vet on standby.

“We might not get anything but need to prepare for every eventuality.”