Derbyshire police are encouraging people to report any suspicious activity in the countryside as part of a national campaign to prevent cruelty to badgers.
In recent months police have found evidence of a badger sett being dug in Bolsover and the animal killed nearby, while in the High Peak and Derbyshire Dales residents have reported people going door-to-door asking where badger setts are.
Sergeant Darren Belfield said: “We are appealing to anyone who has information about people involved in badger baiting, digging or lamping to get in touch with the police or Crimestoppers immediately. It is a cruel and abhorrent activity which some people wrongly see as a sport.
“Any offence under the Protection of Badgers Act can carry a penalty of up to six months imprisonment and a substantial fine.
“A landowner who knowingly permits badger digging to take place on their land can also be prosecuted.”
Sgt Belfield said they did not want people to approach suspects directly, but to contact police as soon as possible with any description of the people involved and details of vehicles they see.
Anyone with information should call police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.