PROTESTERS to the upcoming badger cull are being encouraged to contact the police to ensure peaceful protests.

West Somerset’s police inspector has written to the public ahead of this year’s continued badger cull pilot.

Inspector Shane Carey said the police’s primary concern is community safety.

The letter comes just weeks after controversy surrounding the force over last year’s badger cull pilot in West Somerset.

A document leaked in May revealed that a representative of the NFU was present in the force’s control room while badgers were being shot.

They defended their decision to invite the members of the Union and a badger cull company saying the action was taken to ensure public safety.

Insp Carey writes: “Throughout the coming months, both in advance of and during the cull, our primary concern is community safety.

“We will be doing all we can to ensure our communities feel safe and remain safe, and we are committed to this.

“People have a lawful right to protest and your local police will work tirelessly to strike the right balance between, facilitating peaceful protests, allowing the cull to take place in accordance with the licence and ensuring that the local community is able to go about their daily lives with minimum interference.

“We are talking to all interested parties and urging anyone planning to hold a protest come forward and talk to us so we can work together to achieve a safe and peaceful protest.”

The cull officially started on June 1, but the actual date for the badger culling has not been announced, it will last six weeks.

Cull opponents were jubilant this week as environment secretary Owen Paterson was sacked, replaced by Liz Truss.

But she is already facing pressure over the cull, earlier this week she vowed to use 'every tool in our tool box' to tackle bovine tuberculosis.

Anyone with any concerns should contact 01823-363524 or 101 and ask for Inspector Carey or PS Zane Manu.