Three Black Country men have received suspended prison sentences for hunting a badger with dogs.
Rhys Dwyer, 18, Jake Berry, 20, and Daniel Fry, 21, were convicted of attempting to take a badger, hunting a wild mammal with dogs, digging for badgers and interfering with a sett.
At Cannock Magistrates' Court they each received an eight month suspended sentence, 120 hours community service and a two-year ban from keeping dogs.
They were also fined £480 each.
'Prevent harm' Dwyer, of Shepherd Drive; Fry, of Merric Road, both Wolverhampton, and Berry, of Stubby Lane, Wednesfield, were interviewed by police after they were seen entering woodland in Essington, South Staffordshire, on 4 May.
They were in possession of dogs and hunting equipment.
PC Pete Clarke, from Staffordshire Police, said: "Fortunately we were able to disrupt the men's behaviour and prevent harm coming to any badgers.
"Although I have no doubt that the damage to their setts would have caused them distress."
Faye Burton, from the Rural Policing Liaison Group, said illegal badger digging with dogs was at its peak between January and June when female badgers can fight "for up to eight hours" to protect young cubs.