Badger cull delay could cost 'at least £80,000' as police try to recoup costs
Police forces have claimed tens of thousands of pounds for planning security around badger culls which were later postponed.
Chief officers drew up plans for preventing trouble amid fears animal rights activists would clash with licensed gunmen targeting the creatures under the Government's bid to rid the countryside of bovine tuberculosis.
Ministers hoped to go ahead with a trial cull in Gloucestershire and west Somerset to assess the impact of cutting the number of badgers thought to be infecting cattle with TB.
But the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) was last month forced to delay the programme until next summer, when it emerged there were more badgers than thought.
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Police forces can ask for extra Home Office cash to police events outside their normal duties.
Home Office Minister Damian Green last night revealed the cull delay could cost taxpayers at least £80,000 as force top officers try to recoup their costs.
Mr Green sad: "The police forces have made special grant applications in respect of the planning costs incurred by them before the cull was postponed.
"We have received claims from two of the four police forces that were involved in the planning process. The claims total £80,000. These claims are currently being considered by the Home Office, HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and Defra and a decision will be made in due course."
Mr Green revealed the figure following a written Commons question from shadow Home Office minister Diana Johnson.
The Tory minister said he expected the forces to make separate special grant pleas for planning and operational costs when the cull goes ahead next year.
He added: "Any payments made by the Home Office will be reimbursed by Defra.
"We do not yet have estimated costs for the operation that will take place in 2013."