THE total cost of policing the badger cull pilot has been confirmed as nearly £2.5m across Somerset and Gloucestershire.

Avon and Somerset Police's chief constable, Nick Gargan tweeted today (January 14) that the costs came to £738,985 for the full nine weeks.

The government pilot aimed to kill 70% of the badger population in each county to test how effective, humane and safe a cull could be.

It was an attempt to curb bovine TB in cattle, which saw 38,000 cattle slaughtered in Great Britain in 2012.

The cull in Somerset was supposed to last six weeks but it was extended further after marksmen failed to meet their targets of killing 70% of the badger population.

However, even the extension failed to meet the target leaving many of those opposing the cull branding it as a failure.

Mr Gargan originally said that he would release the figures on Friday.

In Gloucestershire, it was revealed that the cost came to around £1.7m.

It works out at around £1,377 per badger of which 1,771 were killed by marksmen across the cull.

DEFRA will refund the money to the police forces.

Last week, animal charity Care for the Wild released figures revealing revealed that the badger cull cost more than £7million.

They said that £2.6m of that was spent policing the cull.

A Defra spokesperson said: “The costs of the badger cull pilots will be vastly outweighed by the impact that bovine TB is having on our farming industry and taxpayers.

“Each bovine TB cattle outbreak costs an average £34,000, and if left unchecked this disease will cost the taxpayer £1billion over the next 10 years.

“We are working on new cattle and oral badger vaccines but they are years away from being ready and we cannot wait while this terrible disease spreads.”

Avon and Somerset Police are set to reveal a statement about the cull later today or tomorrow.