Wildlife team fall victim to further targeted theft of materials and equipment vital to beaver reintroduction project at Idle Valley Nature Reserve

Just 24 hours after dealing with the theft of thousands of pounds of fencing materials, the nature reserve near Retford has been hit again with the theft of a forklift truck and further materials.

Friday, 3rd September 2021, 10:53 am

On Thursday September 2, Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust staff arrived to find they had been victim of yet another theft, just one day after fencing materials costing thousands were stolen at its Idle Valley Nature Reserve.

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This theft resulted in a forklift truck belonging to the charity’s contractors being taken, along with a small amount of additional materials being used to create a secret enclosure for beavers.

Idle Valley Nature Reserve have been subjected to two thefts in two days. Picture: Di Fisher

After the fencing materials were found missing on Wednesday morning, the project team had been determined to keep the fencing work on track and stashed a small number of rolls of fencing wire deep in the large and remote nature reserve so that work could continue the next day.

Overnight thieves returned to the site and stole the netting, taking the total lost to 2km of fencing, with a replacement value of around £10,000 – plus the value of the forklift essential for moving the heavy materials.

Speaking about the further theft, Head of Communications Erin McDaid said: “Whilst shocked by the original theft, the team were determined to carry on with the job to ensure that we can welcome our beavers as planned.

“Every effort was made to ensure the materials were well out of sight, but it now seems clear that the team were being closely observed on sight which is both upsetting and disturbing.

“The audacity of returning the night after a major theft to take more materials and a piece of essential machinery is shocking.”

The Trust is now working with police to try and recover the stolen items but is determined to keep the project on track and welcome the beavers to the reserve.

The Trust is urging anyone that has any information about the theft or is aware of anyone trying to sell a large quantity of fencing mesh locally, including the special otter fencing and horse mesh, in suspicious circumstances, to contact the police by dialling 101, quoting crime numbers 0179 01092021 (for August 31) or 0159 02092021 (for September 1).