AN investigation has been launched after a dead badger was discovered with extensive facial injuries and a broken jaw in Samlesbury.

The animal was discovered after a man was seen pulling up in his car and placing something behind a hedge at the side of Whalley Road, just before Huntley’s farm shop.

The police were called and it was discovered the dead badger had extensive facial injuries and a broken jaw.

Under the Protection of Badgers act 1992 it is illegally to wilfully kill, injure or take a badger or to fail to notify the authorities over the death of a badger.

Lancashire Badger group, said: “I haven’t seen the injuries on this specific badger but it does sound quite suspicious.

“It is unusally for someone to have a badger in the back of their car, but it could be something as innocent as he has run it over.

“It is very concerning as it is illegal to possess a badger dead or alive.

“We as a group always fear badger baiting as it is very common in the north. Lots of badger digging does go on especially in the Burnley Colne areas.”

Police said they were currently unsure about what had happened to the badger.

Lancashire Constabulary’s Wildlife Crime Officer, Mark Thomas, said: “I would appeal to anyone who was in the area at the time and might have witnessed what happened to come forward and contact the police.

“It is an offence under the Protection of Badgers act 1992 to wilfully kill, injure or take a badger and we are looking into the possible criminal side of this incident.”

The man who dumped the animal was spotted at about 8am on Sunday, February 10, driving an old type Mercedes silver estate .

He was dressed in country clothing and a trilby hat with large pheasant feathers mounted on one side of the hat.

He drove off in the direction of Clitheroe.

Three badger baiters were recently being sought in Todmorden and a number of cases have appeared before the courts in the last couple of years.

Anyone with information should call police on 101.