Investigation launched after vandals open sluice gates at Rufford Country Park

A councillor is urging people to come forward with information which will help investigations into who opened the sluice gates at Rufford Country Park, causing Rufford Lake to lose a ‘significant’ amount of water.

By Wayne Swiffin
Friday, 6th May 2022, 2:49 pm

The park, situated just off the A614, is a major tourist attraction for the area and the lake, in particular, is a haven for wildlife.

However, ‘persons unknown’ opened the sluice gates at the lake in what is being described as ‘blatant act of vandalism’.

Parkwood Outdoors, which manages the park on behalf of Nottinghamshire County Council, has identified that the sluice gate on the lake was opened either late on April 28 or early on on the following day.

The sluice gates at Rufford Lake.

The gates being opened led to a ‘significant amount of water’ being drained from the lake, and a local flood response was started.

Coun Scott Carlton, Nottinghamshire County Council member for Sherwood Forest, said: “I am totally appalled by this blatant act of vandalism and the total disregard for the ecology of the lake, alongside communities downstream that could have experienced significant issues.

“Fortunately the impact on both has been minimal. Careful observations of the local wildlife and water levels was conducted to assess the impact of this incident. These are still being conducted.”

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Coun Scott Carlton, Nottinghamshire Council member for Sherwood Forest.

Coun Carlton said Nottinghamshire Police have been informed, as it was was a potential wildlife crime.

He said: “Investigations are still ongoing at this time. I will be working with and supporting all partners where I can, to resolve these matters.

“Naturally if anyone does have information relating to this matter, then please do get in contact with the council and Nottinghamshire Police.”

The investigations will also look at the gates themselves, to see if any permanent damage has been done to them.

As well as being hugely popular with tourists, the nearby Rufford Mill Ford has become an internet sensation.

Online videos showing motorists driving through the ford – where Rufford Lane crosses Rainworth Water – have been watched by hundreds of thousands of people.

Many drivers struggle to navigate the waters, with tow trucks on hand to rescue people and their cars.

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