Spalding nature resevre volunteers left 'heartbroken’ after vandalism spree
Volunteers and workers at a Spalding nature reserve are “annoyed and heartbroken” after vandals left behind a trail of destruction during the weekend.
Gates, fencing and a shed door were ripped up and set on fire at Arnold’s Meadow, near the A16 off Childer’s South Drove on Friday night.
Plastic chairs and tables used by volunteers at the site, run by Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust, were also burnt, and broken glass, beer cans and bottles were scattered across part of the nature reserve.
Keith Seaton, a volunteer at Arnold’s Meadow for 25 years, said: “This is the third time in two months that we’ve had vandalism, despite us having put new bolts and locks on the shed door and gates at the nature reserve.
“It must have been done on Friday evening, but this time the vandals managed to break in to the shed that our volunteer helpers use for tea breaks before taking eight plastic chairs and two plastic tables out of the shed. They also burnt three gates, including a big, 16ft one, and around 30 metres of wooden fencing.
“It’s such a pity because since I’ve been working here over the last 25 years, Arnold’s Meadow has become a lovely place to come to.
“But over the last four or five years, vandalism has really been a problem and last December, a big gate was smashed down and a four-wheel mower was stolen.
“It’s so annoying for us as volunteers after all the time we put in without getting paid for it.“
Arnold’s Meadow was created from a bare field 50 years ago and the triangular-shaped nature reserve is now made up of a hay meadow, a moat surrounding an island and two shallow ponds overlooked by hides.
Visitors to the site can see hedgerows, trees, a small wooded area and an estimated 73 different species of birds, according to Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust.
These include kingfishers, sparrowhawks and jays, as well as 17 species of butterfly, water voles, toads, frogs and grass snakes.
John Oliver, the trust’s warden for south Lincolnshire, said: “I was at the site on Monday morning and it would appear that somebody decided to pull up some of the poster rail fencing and gates in order to make a nice bonfire.
“It’s very heartbreaking and disappointing when you turn up to work at a place you’ve created for everyone to use and find that one of the doors has been pulled off one of the sheds and burnt.
“One of the things I have to do now is to price up what needs to be replaced.
“But this has been the second or third time this year that something like this has happened at Arnold’s Meadow and each time it’s been a combination of things getting stolen and things getting pulled up and burnt.”
Lincolnshire Police are treating the case as criminal damage and anyone with information should call Spalding Police Station on 101, quoting incident number 311 of May 12.
Alternatively, you can email email firstname.lastname@example.org and quote the incident number in the subject line.