CAMPAIGNERS against the controversial badger cull have begun patrolling the area ahead of this year's culls which are expected to resume this week.

Somerset Against the Badger Cull was joined by members of the public to set up camp outside Bishops Lydeard ready for the beginning of the culls.

A spokesperson for the group said: "There were at least 60 or 70 people present last night and as more people are aware of us and of the culls resuming, I do think more and more people will join us.

"People have come from all over the country and its a mix of people, some completely separate from us, like vets, nurses, artists, but all sharing the same view as us.

"Today we are hand delivering a letter to West Somerset MP Ian Liddell-Grainger who has refused to meet with us.

"He doesn't seem to be listening to a large majority of his electorate who are against the culling."

But Mr Liddell-Grainger said he has not had any letters on contact from any groups against the cull.

He added: "No one has approached me saying they want to talk.

"I am more than happy to have a meeting with anyone.

"I don't think it matters that the culls are not being independently monitored this year - the proof will be in the pudding.

"If bovine is reduced in cattle, then the culls have worked.

"I am meeting with Environment Secretary Liz Truss tomorrow and I will discussing the culls with her."

To fulfil the licensing criteria, marksmen will have to cull at least 316 in Somerset to reach the estimated target of removing 70% of the badger population.