Claims that badger cull protesters were shot at have been dismissed by police.
Rumours surfaced on social media website Twitter over the weekend that campaigners had been fired upon at a remote location in West Somerset in what was labelled a clear act of "intimidation".
Avon and Somerset Police confirmed they had responded to a call from protesters at Rook's Nest, near Wiveliscombe, on Saturday night but said "no shots had been fired at anyone".
"At 9.30pm we had a call from Somerset Badger Patrol saying they had heard shots fired at that location so we looked into it," a spokesman for the force said. "It was outside of the cull zone and our officers were about 20 minutes away. They were advised to wait in their car and officers spoke to them twice on the phone before they arrived."
He said the incident "had nothing to do with badgers" and that someone may have been shooting "rabbits or vermin". The spokesman said inquiries were being made to establish that the shooting was being carried out legally.
He also confirmed the force had been in touch with the office of Bridgwater MP Ian Liddell-Grainger, who revealed at the weekend that a dead badger had been left on his doorstep. Police said the MP did not wish to take the matter further.
The pilot cull of diseased badgers, part of a package of control measures for bovine TB which has devastated herds across the Westcountry, started in West Somerset a fortnight ago. During the six-week cull, which is also taking place in Gloucestershire, some 5,000 badgers will be shot.
If proved to be effective against the disease, safe and humane, the culls could be rolled out across the country. But they have attracted huge opposition, with some 300,000 putting their name to an online petition that has become the most signed on the official Government website.
Yesterday, the Humane Society (HS) urged MPs with constituencies in high-risk bovine TB areas to secure debates in the House of Commons before the cull is expanded. An Early Day Motion calling on Ministers to bring the matter back to Parliament before a decision is made has been signed by 127 MPs.
HS executive director Mark Jones said: "The pilots have brought chaos, cruelty and community division to Somerset and Gloucestershire, so it would be outrageously irresponsible for the cull to be imposed on other areas with-out Parliamentary debate."