Dudley Town FC matches cancelled because BADGERS dig up pitch at The Dell
Badgers have stopped play at a Black Country football club after digging up the pitch.
Dudley Town FC's home games last Saturday and Wednesday night were cancelled after the animals had chewed the turf at The Dell Stadium in Brierley Hill.
Officials declared the surface as unplayable, saying that the problem had been ongoing for the past 10 weeks.
Last Saturday's match against Hereford-based Wellington FC in the West Midlands League was called off after a 10am pitch inspection.
The same happened again with Malvern Town on Wednesday night.
Dudley Town chairman, Stephen Austin, said it was concerning.
He explained: "We have never experienced anything like this before.
"We have had problems with Canadian Geese and Foxes but we have lost our last games as a result of the damage it has caused.
"Its been ongoing for about 10 weeks but has progressively got worse.
"They are a protected species so there is little that we can do, but the council are working tirelessly.
"We have been trying to look for other local places we can play but its not that easy.
"It is concerning that the games have been called off but we hope the matter will resolve itself."
In a statement, Councillor Patrick Harley, leader of Dudley Council, said: “We are having problems with badgers, who are digging into the surface of the pitch at the Dell to get at earthworms and other insect larvae and causing damage.
"A planned fixture between Dudley Town FC and Wellington FC at 3pm on Saturday at the Dell was called off following an early morning pitch inspection.
"A further cup fixture on Wednesday was also postponed following an independent pitch inspection.
“Badgers are a wild animal and as such are protected by law, but we are making every effort to protect the pitch, including strengthening and securing fencing.
“But with the site situated between designated nature reserves, it remains highly likely that wildlife from these neighbouring sites will enter the stadium."
Under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992, in England and Wales it is an offence to wilfully kill, injure or take a badger.
It states that badgers are protected and so are the setts they live in.