Badger cull police patrols in Gloucestershire increased

Police at night near badger cull protesters
Image caption The police's response to the badger cull in Gloucestershire is continuing

The number of police officers monitoring the badger cull in Gloucestershire has been increased.

A police spokesman claimed it followed a rise in numbers of confrontations between protestors and marksmen.

A total of 18 arrests have been made so far as part of the force's badger cull response.

A six-week pilot cull in west Somerset is now believed to have ended, but the operation in Gloucestershire is expected to continue for another week.

Ch Supt Gary Thompson from Gloucestershire Police said: "Over recent nights there has been more direct contact between protestors and the marksmen carrying out the cull.

"This has led to some concerns about the safety of the public and we have increased our policing response accordingly.

"This is being reviewed on a daily basis to ensure that we continue to help ensure public safety."

The controversial pilot, which has been vociferously opposed by campaigners, was overseen by Defra in an attempt to stop the spread of TB in cattle.

Defra has refused to comment on the success of the cull and neither it nor the National Farmers' Union could confirm it has ended in Somerset.

Marksman in both counties are aiming to kill a total of about 5,000 badgers.

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