EXCLUSIVE
Fury as vandals burn down wildlife shelter

By Tristan Harris 04/05 Updated: 04/05 10:59

Buy photos » The remains of the hide after the blaze. s

WORCESTERSHIRE Wildlife Trust (WWT) has hit out at those who burnt down a £5,500 hide on its Upton Warren nature reserve.

Wendy Carter, the WWT’s communications manager, said the position of the hide, at the reserve’s North Moors car park, made it an excellent place to view several creatures up close, especially rare bitterns, reed warblers, and hobbys, as well as dragonflies.

“Whoever has thoughtlessly destroyed the hide for a bit of ‘fun’ has spoiled the enjoyment of many people who used the hide to view wildlife.

“It must have been very visible from the A38 and we’re disappointed that no passers-by reported it to the fire brigade,” she added.

The incident happened at some point overnight between Tuesday (May 1) and Wednesday morning (May 2).

Ms Carter added it was lucky the weather had been so wet recently, otherwise the blaze could have easily spread to nearby trees, hedges and dry weeds, setting them on fire as well and bringing about a lot more damage and destruction.

And she said, although the hide was not accessible for wheelchair users, it was right next to the car park, making it ideal for visitors with limited mobility.

The trust is still deciding whether to put another like-for-like wooden structure there or replace the burnt hide with a concrete one. Another option is to just put a viewing screen up.

Ms Carter added that, in the current economic climate, this was the last thing the charity needed.

The trust is now appealing for any residents or local businesses who are interested in helping the WWT get a new hide to call Helen Woodman on 01905 754919.

West Mercia Police confirmed the incident was being treated as arson and appealed for any witnesses or anyone with any information to call officers on 0300 333 3000, quoting the reference 167S 02/05/12, or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

Buy photos» The hide how it used to look. s

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