DOG owners have been warned they may be committing an offence if they dig their dog out of a badger sett.

Section 3 of the Protection of Badgers Act 1992 says setts should not be damaged or destroyed in a way.

A spokesman for North Dorset Police said a recent report was made of a dog entering an active sett in Sturminster Newton.

A spokesman said: "Please do not start digging out your dog as you'll be committing a criminal offence under The Protection of Badgers Act, section 3. The dog will exit the sett of its own will."

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The Act says people must not damage a badger sett or any part of it, destroy a badger sett, obstruct access to a sett or entrances of a sett, cause a dog to enter a sett or disturb a badger when it is occupying a sett.

The rules apply if they intend to do any of the things mentioned or if their actions are reckless and it should have been obvious that those actions would have the above consequences.