UPDATE: Damage caused by vandals at nature reserve could run ‘into the thousands’

editorial image

‘Reckless’ vandals caused a number of new-born lambs to be trapped in barbed wire after damaging fencing at the Idle Valley Nature Reserve.

The fences were deliberately cut in around 150 places across the southern end of the reserve, near Retford. Staff and volunteers had to rescue 12 sheep and some new-born lambs, which had become trapped and distressed as a direct result of the disturbing act.

The Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust said it was ‘dismayed’ at the incident and said the bill could run into the thousands.

The trust’s head of communications and marketing, Erin McDaid, said this week: “We’re dealing with a completely reckless and pointless act here.”

“It’s endangered the sheep at a very sensitive time, it takes vital resources away from positive conservation work and we’re unlikely to ever know why this was done or what point whoever did this was trying to prove. This is criminal behaviour and we’ll be treating it as such and working with the police.”

The fencing has been damaged in a way that makes it difficult to repair and the charity estimates it will take up to seven-weeks to complete the work – as longs as no further vandalism takes place.

The trust also says the incident is negatively affecting the management of the reserve and putting a huge strain on the team during a busy lambing season.

A similar incident in 2012, which resulted in fewer animals getting caught in the fencing, cost the charity over £6000 in materials and staff time to rectify.

Mr McDaid added: “The team at the reserve worked quickly to respond to trapped animals and were able to successfully rescue all the animals.”

“The damage to the infrastructure means that areas due to be grazed for conservation won’t be secure, limiting grazing for the young families of Hebriddean and Herdwick sheep.

“The team at North Notts College, which owns the Idle Valley Rural Learning Centre at the reserve, and our own staff and volunteers, have rallied together really well to try and repair the fencing, so we owe a huge thanks to them.”

“Now we just have to hope that there are no further incidents, the lambs can grow up in peace and that anyone with information comes forward,” he added.

Call police on 101 with information.