Outrage at nature reserve vandalism

Lisa Daley of the RSPB at a doorway forced open by thieves that is now temporarily boarded up until repairs can be carried out.
Lisa Daley of the RSPB at a doorway forced open by thieves that is now temporarily boarded up until repairs can be carried out.

BOSSES at a nature reserve have hit out at vandals who caused hundreds of pounds worth of damage.

RSPB Saltholme, off Tees Road, was targeted by yobs who stole more than 200ft of electrical fencing, a television, photographs and damaged a door at a watch point.

It comes as the centre has been shortlisted in the National Lottery Good Causes award for the best education project due to the work done with local school children at the site.

Managers at RSPB Saltholme say the cost to repair the damage could be as high as £1,000.

In the last year, more than 3,000 school children have been to the Lifelong Learning project at Saltholme.

Lisa Daley, centre manager, said: “Whoever has done this doesn’t appreciate the effect that it has.

“The watch point is back open now, but we have temporarily boarded up a doorway in order to make it safe.

“Being a charity, our budgets are very small and the money to repair the damage will have to come from somewhere.

“The television that was stolen shows live feeds and nature DVDs and it is the children and visitors that miss out because of the theft.

“All of our team have worked so hard to get the area up to scratch and then you get people who do this.

“It is very disappointing.”

The finals of the Good Causes award are due to be held in London in November.

Funding from the National Lottery has helped the project provide education and experiences for schoolchildren and visitors.

The first incident happened at the wildlife watch point sometime between 4.50pm on Friday, July 27, and 8am on Saturday, July 28.

The reserve shop was broken in to and a number of photographs of the wildlife and birds, which had been taken by photographer Darren Clarke, were stolen.

The photos are in black wooden frames and sold in the shop on the reserve.

Damage was also caused to the watch point and a 19-inch television was stolen.

The second incident, which happened between 5pm on Saturday and 8am on Sunday, saw 240ft of electric fencing stolen from the site.

Anyone with any information is asked to call Cleveland Police on the non-emergency number 101 or independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.