May 14, 2021 6.04 pm This story is over 14 months old

Police appeal after vandals trash protected natural area

Rubbish dumped and branches cut from trees

Detective Constable Aaron Flint of Grantham is appealing for witnesses and information following the report of substantial damage being caused to Ancaster Valley Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).

Branches have been cut from trees, some of which are hundreds of years old and rubbish, including tyres, wood, and other items, have been dumped at the site. It is believed this has happened sometime during the last two weeks.

The area in question is protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, which makes it an offence to intentionally or recklessly damage a SSSI.

The penalty for this offence up until 2015 was a fine of up to £20,000. This has now been changed giving the courts the power to give an unlimited fine.

There were a number of tyres at the site. Photo Lincolnshire Police

DC Flint said: “These sites are extremely fragile and highly vulnerable to damage. We will be working closely with Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust to identify the offenders and bring them to justice. This is not only a mindless and selfish act of vandalism but also serious crime against our environment.

“We take all reports of wildlife crime very seriously. We would encourage anyone who has been in this area in the last two weeks and may have any information, not matter how irrelevant you may feel it is, to contact us on 101.”

Garden furniture was also found. Photo Lincolnshire Police

Rachel Shaw, spokesman for Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust, added: “This is a senseless act of vandalism to a wonderful nature reserve. It’s also a drain on our resources as it’s likely to be costly to remove, and, most concerning of all, the damage to the trees and shrubs will have a long term impact.

“A number of trees have had branches removed and bark damage that may affect their survival. The shrubs that have been damaged are box. Box is very slow growing and unfortunately some of the stems cut and damaged are over 100 years old so will take a long time to regenerate.”

A Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) is an area that’s of particular interest to science due to the presence of rare species of fauna and flora, important geological or physiological features. These areas are of very high conservation value, and need to be protected.

DC Flint is asking for anyone who may have information about this offence to contact 101 or crime stoppers quoting occurrence number 21000263099 or by emailing him directly at [email protected]