A trial date has been set for four men accused of destroying a rare hazel dormouse habitat on the edge of Petersfield.

Neil Hitch, Steve Field, David Cole and Stuart Barden have been charged with damaging or destroying a breeding site or resting place of a wild animal.

It’s been alleged that hedgerows containing dormice on land at Petersfield Rugby Club were destroyed between in early 2023 between January 1 and February 22.

Mr Hitch, 62, of Marybridge Close, Totton, and Mr Field, 64, of Redwing Road, Clanfield, both pleaded not guilty to the charge last Thursday at Basingstoke & North Hampshire Magistrates Court.

Mr Barden, 57, of Winchester Road in Petersfield and Mr Cole, 32 of Weald Way in Petersfield, also pleaded not guilty to the same charge, with a two-day hearing listed for early December at Aldershot Magistrates Court.

Prosecutors have been given until August 1 to serve further evidence.