Incorrect Facebook post led to golf club being vandalised

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir May 8, 2019 06:19

A story about a golf club that was attacked by animal rights activists after a local resident posted an incorrect update about a badger sett has received national media attention.

A Facebook user posted images of what looked like dumped piles of rubble on top of badger setts at the 155-year-old Royal North Devon Golf Club, to block them in – a crime in the UK since 1992. This was seen by local activists who visited the club and dug up clumps of earth on a putting green and spray-painted the word ‘killers’ on the club’s signs.

However, the club has confirmed that the rubble was deposited during recent works on the course, and no badger setts were damaged.

The user initially wrote: ‘If anyone could get there to take them out I’d really appreciate it.’ She then updated her original post, adding that it appeared that a group of badgers had moved out and the club was attempting to prevent their return.

‘It would appear the club have blocked one recently used entrance and that the badgers may have moved out and the club are trying to prevent their return,’ she wrote.

After discovering that significant damage had been caused by activists, the Facebook user added: ‘I only wanted kind folk to check the sett was not being blocked and remove any obstruction if they felt able. I did not expect for members of the public to vandalise the course or the property. That is not the way civilised people behave. Shame on those who have done this.’

A spokesman for the golf club said: “Royal North Devon is a golf club which prides itself on being part of an area of outstanding natural beauty, and at the sheer variety and vibrancy of wildlife on and around our course.

“On the evening of 22nd April the club was victim to a number of acts of vandalism, prompted by incorrect claims that the club had caused damage to a badger sett.

“Our green staff are aware of where the key wildlife habitats are on our course, and always avoid causing any damage or disruption to these areas.

“We can confirm that no badger setts were damaged by any rubble the club had deposited during its recent works on the course, and our club would be happy to invite in any concerned or interested local groups to discuss how we operate a busy golf course whilst also protecting and being sensitive to the natural ecosystem on Northam Burrows.

“We are working closely with the Badger Conservation Society and take our responsibility for local wildlife seriously.

“It is a shame that in this instance there were acts of unnecessary vandalism on our premises before any conversation with the concerned group could take place.

“This vandalism now become a police matter, and as such the club will not be commenting further.”

The story was picked up by a range of publications including the Metro newspaper and DevonLive.


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir May 8, 2019 06:19
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