THE police helicopter was called to track down three men suspected of badger baiting at the weekend.

Lancashire Police are currently searching for the men who are believed to have been involved in an area around the north side of Pendle Hill.

One dog, described as a small terrier type, was seized by police after they were notified by a walker.

The police have received two further reports of badger baiting so far this year in the Pendle Hill area.

The search centred on the Ribble Valley side of Pendle Hill but police said they were unable to go into detail as they did not want to publicise the location of the badger sett.

PCSO Andy Connell, of Clitheroe Police, said: “We were called to a rural location at 3.30pm on Sunday after receiving reports of three men and a number of dogs being involved in badger baiting.

“We searched the surrounding area and seized one of the dogs. We did not find the men who were allegedly involved. The police helicopter was in the area so we requested their help in tracking down the three men.”

He said inquiries were ongoing. Anyone with information, call Clitheroe Police Station or 101.

He added: “We know that badger baiting goes on and if we catch anyone who is involved they will be dealt with accordingly.

“A number of other reports that we have received so far this year have related to areas on the Burnley side of Pendle Hill.”

Jo Bates of the Lancashire Badger Group said: “The levels of persecution have been slightly rising over the last few years.

“We manage setts across the region and there are some that are interfered with several times a year.”