THE battle to stop bothersome badgers in Wordsley has made its way to Westminster.

Residents in The Haven say they have been plagued by the burrowing beasts for years but they have now reached the end of their tether trying to stop the destructive creatures in their tracks.

Having repeatedly called on Dudley Council and Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) to take action to try to resolve the situation, they have now enlisted help from Dudley South MP Chris Kelly who has waded into the war and contacted Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman about the matter.

Mr Kelly told the Minister his constituents were "being plagued by these creatures" after Wordsley councillor Geoff Southall asked him to intervene on behalf of resident John Gutteridge whose garden has been turned over by badgers.

Minister for Natural Environment and Fisheries Richard Benyon MP later replied saying: "Badgers and their setts are fully protected under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992. However the law also recognises that sometimes there may be a genuine need to allow otherwise prohibited actions to be taken.

"Thus, under the legislation licences may be granted by Natural England to kill or take badgers or to interfere with their setts for certain purposes, including damage to property."

He said, however, the needs of people whose property is being damaged by badgers must be balanced against the conservation and welfare of the animals.

The Minister added: "I appreciate how destructive and persistent badgers can be and hope that Mr Gutteridge's problem with badgers can be resolved soon."

Mr Gutteridge is just one of many residents in The Haven and surrounding streets who have seen their gardens ripped up, and in some cases even the stability of their properties affected, by badgers who have dug around 13 setts in the area which is framed by a sandstone cliff.

Lorraine Price, aged 81, has seen her garden wall crumble onto her driveway, tree roots exposed in her back garden, her lawn and vegetable patch churned up and pots knocked about by the black and white beasts.

While 77-year-old Margaret Tonks’s garden has been ravaged by the badgers who have dug two setts near her fence.

Councillor Geoff Southall said: "I feel sorry for these residents. This has been going on for years. It’s very worrying for people.”

But Conservative MP Mr Kelly said with Dudley Council, Defra and Natural England working to find a solution “there may just be light at the end of the tunnel” for the residents.