A GAMEKEEPER from Ryedale has been fined after shooting a badger.

David Stephen Welford, 43, of Thornthorpe, near Malton, pleaded guilty to wilfully killing the badger in September 2010, when he appeared at Scarborough Magistrates Court.

Welford was fined £385, and ordered to pay £100 court costs.

Jean Thorpe, of Ryedale Badger Group, said the badger sett in the woodland was very well-known to local people and badger watchers.

“It’s a very old badger sett, which has been there 50 to 60 years.”

She said she did not think the fine of £385 valued a badger’s life enough, when the maximum sentence is £2,000 or six months in prison.

But said she was pleased that Welford had been sentenced.

“It is extremely difficult and always has been to get enough evidence against a gamekeeper for killing badgers.

“It was a beautiful big sow badger in wonderful condition. She was in the prime of her life. There was just no need for it.”