A HUNT saboteur who was left with serious injuries after being attacked by badger baiters has spoken of his shock following the horrific assault.

And the 41-year-old victim, who needed 42 stitches after being set upon, has gone back on patrol despite his injuries.

The Hunt Saboteurs Association volunteer was at Darcy Lever Gravel Pits at around 9pm last Wednesday.

The dad-of-two, who wishes to remain anonymous, spotted some men with two or three dogs and realised they were badger baiters.

He said: “I have a route where I go and as I was getting closer I saw two red torches, which rang an alarm bell with me.

“There were between four and six men split into two groups and there were one or two big dogs, like Lurchers, and a terrier. They were right on top of the setts.

“I came away and tried ringing the police but could not get any reception and ran out a bit further. I thought by the time I get through it is going to be too late.

“I went back and shone my torch at them and said the police are on their way now so they better go.

“One of the lads ran at me raging and we started tussling. I then felt something, I presumed someone hit me on the back of the head and knocked me out.

“I don’t know how long I was out for but when I came round I tried getting my bearings. I was in shock and disorientated but I knew what had happened.

“I quickly checked on the setts and got myself to the main road and rang a friend, who is a volunteer and lives nearby and phoned 999.”

The man was taken to the Royal Bolton Hospital, where he received treatment. He was left with facial injuries and part of his right ear was missing. His ear was sewn up but he needs plastic surgery.

He added: “This just makes me more determined and anxious about badgers’ safety. Two days after it happened I was out with the 'sabs' again.

“Badger baiters are sick and sadistic and think it is fun. They are the lowest of the low. I am not surprised they beat me up the way they did.”

The man who ran at the victim, said to be white and in his 30s. The group were all wearing camouflage clothing and the terrier had a white pinny-style coat on.

If you have any information contact police on 0161 856 5757 quoting incident number 2,864 of April 28.