Rare wildlife is being put in danger at a Great Cornard nature reserve – with the area used for drinking, drug taking and fly-tipping.
The hard work of volunteers at Shawlands Wood, which was officially named a nature reserve in July 2013, is being destroyed by individuals leaving litter and waste at the site, with others using it for late-night drinking and drug taking.
George Millins, who is a member of the Suffolk Wildlife Trust and who volunteers with a small group to look after the site, said there had been a history of problems, particularly with fly-tipping in the woods.
The 75-year-old said “small-minded” people had been leaving garden waste during the summer months by the wheelchair access at the top of Shawlands Avenue.
“It’s not right – it’s a nature reserve and people need educating,” he said.
“We designate a day each month for management of the site but we end up using it to clear rubbish. It’s annoying and takes up our time. There is rare wildlife here.”
The site, which is used as a release site for rare reptiles and amphibians, was finally classified as a reserve after 13 years of campaigning.
A regular user of the woodland paths, who felt too intimidated to give her name, said that she had found drugs paraphernalia and evidence of late-night drinking sessions in the woods.
She said she had been kept up at night by the noise being made by teenagers.
Mr Millins said he had also found evidence of the site being used by drinkers, who were building fires in the woods.
He said that the police were ineffective when dealing with issues and raised the possibility that Great Cornard Parish Council, which owns the site, could put up more signage to make people aware of the importance of the area.
“Look around Sudbury, we hardly have any wildlife and open spaces where people can go,” added Mr Millins. “Most reptile sites are now under concrete.”