A BADGER — affectionately known as Billy Eilish — has died after unwittingly becoming trapped in a garden.

East Cowes resident Martin Shoebridge said protection laws went against the badger, as it would have been illegal to help it, as it would have meant interfering with a sett.

In February, Martin Shoebridge shared with the County Press spectacular footage of a badger and a fox eating together in perfect harmony.

A month later, one of his visitors — a boy, Billy — took up residence in his garden after his normal foraging route got blocked.

At first, Martin was unaware Billy was there, or unable to get out.

He said: "The blockage trapped a badger who had set up home ­— unbeknownst to us at the time ­— under our shed.

"We consulted with Natural England for advice, the local police wildlife office, IW Badger Trust and spoke to an experienced badger ecologist.

"We had to apply for a licence to exclude the badger, but this would not come into force, legally, until July 1.

"From November to July, it is illegal to interfere with a badger or its sett.

"We noticed a change in behaviour. He no longer seemed to try to find a way out, resigned to his imprisonment.

"His habits changed ­— coming out later ­— not eating much and clearly distressed at being in lockdown.

"Eventually he stopped coming out at all. After cutting up my shed floor to investigate, there he was ­— dead.

"We're absolutely heartbroken. In this particular case, the badger protection laws went against us.

"We could have easily persuaded him out and blocked his return to the sett, but to do so would have been illegal.

"I have had to do a lot of soul searching with little comfort."

You can tune into Martin's live webcam feed, now stationed in his front garden, by clicking here.

"We get foxes, badgers and hedgehogs paying us a visit," said Martin.

"The RSPCA say we shouldn’t feed wildlife, but of the foxes that come, three are lame.

"The food we put out eases the burden on their lives."