AN investigation has been launched after an attempt was made to poison dozens of badgers.

A badger action group raised the alarm on Thursday after discovering buckets of poison had been poured into 20 setts.

Police on the Isle of Wight are working with the group and the RSPCA to investigate the incident, which happened on land behind Boxers Lane in Niton.

RSPCA Inspector Mark Buggie said: “There’s no doubt in my mind this was a deliberate act of cruelty.

“It was the largest amount of poison I have ever seen – there were buckets of the stuff dumped at the entrance of these setts.

“We have spent most of the afternoon digging this poison away to make sure the area is not only safe for the badgers in the area, but also the people, dogs and children, who frequent the footpath.

“The poison could have caused a horrible and incredibly painful death, involving a lot of internal bleeding and pain.”

He is urging anyone with information to get in touch with PC Nick Massey at Shanklin police station on 101.