A 40-YEAR-OLD man was knocked unconscious by five badger baiters in a horrific attack in Darcy Lever last night.

A volunteer for the Hunt Saboteurs Association was out checking on a badger sett at around 9pm when he saw five men digging with two dogs also there.

He bravely confronted them but they are said to have beat him unconscious and left the scene.

When the victim came round he managed to get to the road and call for help.

The man needed 42 stitches in his head and will need surgery to his ear.

His face has been blurred in the picture as he has asked to remain anonymous.

Volunteer Alec Holland said: “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 he was looked after.

“To say we are angry would be an understatement, but we are incredibly proud of the bravery shown by him last night.

“Thanks to him, the baiters abandoned their plans and fled the area.

“If anyone has any information regarding the identity of these thugs then please let us, or the police, know.

“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.”

Little Lever and Darcy Lever Cllr Sean Hornby said he was made aware of the attack and has since contacted the council’s green space teams.

He said: “It is not good, that could have happened to anybody.

“I have asked for a meeting between police and community safety about it.”

A crowdfunding page has raised more than £4,500 for the victim so far.

If you have any information about the incident contact Bolton police on the non-emergency number 101.