Birds killed at pop­u­lar lake

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Front Page - by Sean Ax­tell sax­tell@thek­m­ @SeanAx­tell

Yobs who at­tacked and killed two birds at a pop­u­lar lake are be­ing hunted by po­lice.

The duck­ling and coot were found at Sin­gle­ton Lake off Bucks­ford Lane, Ash­ford on Fri­day af­ter­noon.

Po­lice say they had been “pur­posely in­jured”.

The fish­ing lake was sub­ject to a ban­ning or­der last year, pre­vent­ing youths from con­gre­gat­ing, af­ter a spate of anti-so­cial be­hav­iour and re­ports of yobs bran­dish­ing ma­chetes.

De­spite po­lice ramp­ing up “high vis­i­bil­ity pa­trols” in the area, it in­sists the lake is a safe place to visit.

How­ever, Matt Lacey, a mem­ber of cam­paign group Friends of Sin­gle­ton Lake, said wildlife crime isn’t taken se­ri­ously enough and he fears res­i­dents will take mat­ters “into their own hands”.

He said: “I am a for­mer bailiff at the lake but stood down as noth­ing ever got done to re­solve such is­sues.

“Sadly wildlife crime does not ap­pear to be taken se­ri­ously enough due to po­lice lev­els and there­fore re­spec­tive pri­or­i­ties.

“The is­sue with that is that, at some point, lo­cals, fed up with wit­ness­ing such events, will take mat­ters into their own hands.

“It is a shame the lake, such an as­set to the com­mu­nity, is avoided by so many due to this kind of anti-so­cial be­hav­iour.”

The lake has been made sub­ject to a Pub­lic Space Pro­tec­tion Or­der, where po­lice im­posed dis­per­sal or­ders to pre­vent youths from gath­er­ing.

It fol­lowed nu­mer­ous re­ports last year of anti-so­cial be­hav­iour in the area, with PCSOs seiz­ing cat­a­pults and slings from youths who were caus­ing trou­ble to wildlife.

Speak­ing on the lat­est in­ci­dent a po­lice spokesman said: “Of­fi­cers are cur­rently in­ves­ti­gat­ing the cir­cum­stances around this in­ci­dent and are aware of pre­vi­ous re­ports of anti-so­cial be­hav­iour in the area and are con­tin­u­ing to pro­vide high vis­i­bil­ity pa­trolling around the lakes.

“We take re­ports of all crime, in­clud­ing wildlife crime, se­ri­ously and there is a ded­i­cated ru­ral task force team which has been set up to tackle such crime.

“We would like to re­as­sure res­i­dents that the lake con­tin­ues to be a safe place to visit and en­joy, and would en­cour­age res­i­dents and vis­i­tors to con­tinue to en­joy the area.

“We were called at 2.52pm on Fri­day, July 14 to a re­port of wildlife be­ing pur­posely in­jured at Sin­gle­ton Lake.”

Mean­while, the RSPCA has urged wit­nesses to come for­ward and call its an­i­mal cru­elty line.

A spokesman said: “Wild birds, their nests and their eggs are pro­tected by law in Eng­land and Wales. For more in­for­ma­tion about the Wildlife & Coun­try­side Act, please see our web­site.

“Any­one who has any in­for­ma­tion about this in­ci­dent can con­tact the RSPCA’s cru­elty line on 0300 1234 999.”

‘Wildlife crime does not ap­pear to be taken se­ri­ously’

Po­lice are hunt­ing for sus­pects af­ter a bru­tal at­tack on wildlife, where two birds were killed at Sin­gle­ton Lake, Ash­ford

Pic­ture: Gary Browne FM2687575

The at­tack took place at Sin­gle­ton Lake

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