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Police are investigating as a hunt saboteur claims he was beaten bloody and left for dead after confronting a group of badger baiters.

The Manchester Hunt Sabs says the member had part of his ear ripped off in what has been described as a “cowardly” attack.

Horrifying pictures of his brutal injuries show a huge gash on the 41-year-old’s head and his ear torn to bits.

The man had been checking on a badger sett in Little Lever, Bolton, on Wednesday at around 9pm when he came across a group of people, the Manchester Evening News reports.

They had two dogs and were digging out the badger’s den, the anti-hunt group member claimed.

Despite being alone, he said he confronted them to stop them from killing any animals.

The group, armed with shovels, then beat him to the point of unconsciousness, he says.

The 41-year-old eventually woke and was able to make his way back to the road and call for help.

He has no recollection of the attack.

A spokesman for the organisation, which works to protect wildlife from huntsmen, say the incident has been reported to police.

In a statement released on its social media channels, the Manchester division said: “Despite being alone, he bravely confronted the men to prevent them killing any badgers.

“These cowardly thugs then proceeded to beat him unconscious and leave him for dead.

“If you run in to a similar situation, please do not engage with them alone.

“Call the police straight away as they should treat badger baiting as a serious crime, especially if still in progress.

“Please also let us know so that we can arrange for the sett to be monitored if possible.

“Badger baiters are notoriously violent, they really are the lowest of the low.

“We don’t know how anyone could derive pleasure from inflicting so much pain and suffering on animals like that.

“We would also like to thank the local people that rushed out in the middle of the night to make sure our sab was looked after.

“To say we are angry would be an understatement, but we are incredibly proud of the bravery shown by our sab last night. Thanks to him the baiters abandoned their plans and fled the area.

“This sett will be watched closely from now on.”

A Greater Manchester Police spokesperson said: “Officers were called at 9pm on Thursday 28 April 2021 to Croft Side, Bolton to a report of an assault.

“Enquiries have since established a 41-year-old man had been assaulted by a group of people.

“The man was left with head injuries that required medical treatment. His injuries are not thought to be life threatening.

“No arrests have been made.”