A FED-UP mum claims her life and garden is being wrecked by unruly badgers.

Claire Mackay, 38, of Richmond Drive, Westcliff, has had enough of the pesky creatures living underneath her garden.

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She claims about 15 of them are living below ground and this week smashed up her decking.

She wants to remove them from her 75-ft garden, but has been told she cannot act until next June because of the badger breeding season.

Mrs Mackay said: “It’s ruining my garden and my life.

“They’re as big as Shetland ponies, they’re huge.

“They have dug around all the supports. They finally broke the decking on Monday night and have dug up my lawn.”

Badgers dug up the lawn four years ago, but Mrs Mackay did nothing about it. Now she believes it is those animals’ offspring that have returned to cause mayhem.

Mrs Mackay says the badgers actions have made it too dangerous for her young children Lana, five, and Ruby, six, to go into the garden.

She also fears for her pets – two cats and two Dachsund dogs – even though the dogs are bred to kill badgers.

She added: “Though my dogs are bred for hunting, if they got in there these badgers would tear them apart.”

Mrs Mackay has applied for a licence to dig two-metre deep trenches in her garden and remove the badgers.

The trenches would be fitted with one-way doors, like cat flaps, that would allow the badgers to leave Mrs Mackay’s garden, but they would not be able to return.

However, Natural England – responsible for protecting and improving the country’s natural environment, have advised her it will cost thousands of pounds to create the trenches and warned her not to do anything until June. Graham Tibbetts, Natural England spokesman, said: “As a protected species, it is our job to protect them, we cannot disturb them during mating season.”

Female badgers start to give birth to cubs from January, and by the end of March most births have taken place. However, mid February is also a peak mating time, as females come into season soon after the birth of their young.

Badgers are known for their jaw strength and a cull of the animals was introduced in October to stop the spread of bovine tuberculosis, mainly in West Gloucestershire and Somerset.