Problems with "gravedigging badgers" are set to finally be resolved after months of distress for mourners, it has been reported.
An infestation of badgers first began wreaking havoc at the 64-acre Yardley Cemetery in Birmingham last summer.
The issue sparked fears that human remains would soon be unearthed, prompting a barrage of complaints from families whose loved ones are buried in the graveyard.
But as badgers are listed as a protected species, Birmingham City Council was forced to hold off on taking action until the animals had finished mating.
Speaking to BirminghamLive, Gillian Evans, whose mum, dad and brother are all buried at the cemetery, said the badgers' destruction had caused "heartbreak" to her family.
She said: "Last year, our family grave was dug out by these animals. I had to get some strong wire netting and three bags of stones to stop them digging up the grave.
"My family and I find this most distressing; every time we visit the grave there seems to be more and more destruction being done by the badgers.
"I am in absolute distress about this as I do not want to be visiting the grave and finding remains being unearthed.
"This situation needs some urgent attention before any more damage and heartbreak is suffered."
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Shocking footage shared by Gillian showed the damage caused by the unwelcome diggers.
Nine months later, after gaining the necessary licence, the council has erected fencing around the active setts and installed one-way badger gates – a similar mechanism to a cat flap – which allows the critters to leave the blocked-off areas but not return.
Acocks Green Ward Councillor, Roger Harmer, said: "Hopefully this encourages the badgers to move elsewhere – even on to the edge of the cemetery. Anywhere is fine as long as they're not digging up people's graves.
"It has been pretty distressing for those residents who have got relatives buried there.
"To see the ground around their graves being dug up – it might not affect a huge number of people, but for the people it has affected, it's a big issue.
"The badgers have been causing annoyance for a long time. Because badgers are a protected species, you can only intervene when they are not breeding and don't have young there and the council has had to apply for a licence from Natural England to do anything.
"Now we have that, the council will have to act quickly before we get back into another breeding season which will put everything on hold for another six months."
A spokesperson for the city council said: "The city council has been working with an ecologist and has now initiated several actions to improve the situation.
"This entailed putting fencing around the active setts and having a one-way badger gate where badgers can leave the fenced area but cannot gain access back in.
"As and when 21 days elapse and there is no evidence of further badger activity the setts can be filled in.
"To supplement these works, there will follow the construction of special fencing along one perimeter of the site.
"This is the area where it is believed the badgers are migrating from so is a preventative measure."
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