Page last updated at 18:33 GMT, Tuesday, 20 April 2010 19:33 UK

Badger unearths graveyard bodies at Devon church

Distrubed grave at St Theresa's church, Devon
Solutions being considered included preventing badgers re-entering the sett

A badger sett is causing problems in a church cemetery in Devon because at least one animal is disturbing graves and unearthing human remains.

It is thought a number of animals have built their home among headstones at St Theresa's Roman Catholic Church in Sidmouth.

East Devon District Council said it could not to take action because the animals were a protected species.

The church said it would rebury remains and re-consecrate any disturbed ground.

Father Daniel Longland, of the church, said: "These people who are buried here and their bones have got to be reinterred.

"They can be prayed for the same as if they were being buried the first time."

It is illegal to interfere with a badger sett in any way.

One possible solution being considered is a flap at the entrance of the sett which would allow the badgers to exit but prevent them from getting back in again.

However, it would not prevent another one from being constructed nearby, possibly again in the graveyard.

Councillor Frances Newth, of East Devon District Council, said the council would attempt to help remedy the situation "as sensitively as possible".

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