WILTSHIRE Police have paid out a £5,000 settlement to a badger cull protester who made an official complaint for wrongful arrest.

The arrest took place in Kington Langley in 2018 and the Wiltshire Against the Badger Cull member - who has not been named - was held at the Melksham custody centre for 13.5 hours.

A spokesman for Wiltshire Against the Badger Cull said: “Today, the Wiltshire Police force has made a financial settlement to a badger protector for ‘wrongful arrest’ in 2018.

“The settlement relates to a wrongful arrest, in which two badger protectors were pulled over by police in a cull zone as the small group they were with were checking setts and monitoring for illegal culling activity in relation to the badger cull.

“They were searched and subsequently arrested, having personal property including mobile phones seized, for offences that were subsequently noted as not actually existing.

“They were subsequently further arrested, detained for 13.5 hours and then released on bail, and the investigation eventually was rightfully dropped.

“The arrests and harassment of badgers protectors is nothing new, and there have been many discussions over the years with our representatives and police over the malicious and false allegations made by cull operatives and cull directors, which sadly results in these wrongful arrests which are always disproven, but at great cost to those arrested as well as the financial aspect devoted to not just the initial investigations by the police, but the resources required for the subsequent complaints and, at least in this outcome, substantial financial settlements to those wrongfully accused and arrested.”

The claimant said: “I’ve gone through a lot of grief and pain to get to this point and no amount of money can recompense me for that.

“But I really hope lessons can be learned for the nationwide policing operation, the Home Office and cull operatives who give police misleading information.”

A Wiltshire Police spokesman said: “I’m afraid we won’t be commenting on this case, which appears to have been though the legal process.”

The WABC activists say they rare regularly harassed and subjected to intimidation by cull supporters while trying to protect badgers.