A MAN believes badger-baiters are operating in Leigh after his patio was dug up on Thursday evening.

Steven Johnson, was about to go to bed when his wife Caroline spotted an area of his Indian stone paving patio had been dug up and put to the side of the fence.

The 53-year-old's neighbour also experienced the same problem the previous Thursday when his patio had been dug up.

A large hole behind the fences of the two properties was also made before being filled in a few days later.

HGV driver Steve said: "I could not believe it when I saw the damage that had been caused.

"It must have happened between 7pm and 11pm while I have been downstairs so whoever has done it has come over the back of the fence.

"You do no expect someone to dig up your patio when you are watching TV.

"When I spoke to my neighbour about what happened to his patio the previous week, I just thought it must have been a one-off incident of criminal damage.

"Apparently there is a badger set at the back of his house so we think there have been people who have come to try and trap the animals."

Steven says the RSPCA have visited his neighbour about the incident and are investigating.

He added: "It is shocking to think that something as bad as badger-baiting goes on.

"We have lived here for three years and never had any trouble.

"To do it right under our noses shows that whoever that has done it is willing to do anything."

If you have any information about the crime, contact the police on 101, quoting incident number 2,207 of January 25.