‘Louts’ still ruining vital nature reserve

GREAT CORNARD: Shawlands Wood nature reserve is being ruined by "louts" who are drinking, causing explosions and possibly taking drugs at the nature reserve site, leaving mounds of rubbish and broken glass, ruining the area, putting the complex eco-system there at risk and putting off families and dog walkers. Lack of police action. Pictured is volunteer at shawlands wood nature reserve Adrian Beckham ANL-140909-171832009
GREAT CORNARD: Shawlands Wood nature reserve is being ruined by "louts" who are drinking, causing explosions and possibly taking drugs at the nature reserve site, leaving mounds of rubbish and broken glass, ruining the area, putting the complex eco-system there at risk and putting off families and dog walkers. Lack of police action. Pictured is volunteer at shawlands wood nature reserve Adrian Beckham ANL-140909-171832009
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There are renewed fears over drink and drug-fuelled youths destroying Great Cornard’s nature reserve only a month after similar complaints.

Volunteers at the nature reserve were left disgusted at the state that Shawlands Wood had been left in when they attended the site to run a lizard survey.

Adrian Beckham, one of the volunteers, said: “We were checking the invertebrate population when someone said ‘gosh, have you seen the mess down in the hollow?’

“We were shocked by how much rubbish had accumulated. There were lots of little plastic bags which apparently are for drugs.”

As well as potential drug use, deodorant cans had been exploded and bottles smashed, making the area unsafe for children and pets, in a place formerly popular with families and dog walkers.

“It’s shocking,” said Mr Beckham. “It’s ruined the area for everyone.

“The whole area is going to have to be tidied. It’s unsafe – pets could get glass in their paws, or a cyclist could get a puncture. It’s a few louts spoiling it for everyone else.”

Police community support officer Grant Skeggs, from the Sudbury and Great Cornard Safer Neighbourhood Team, has been in contact with George Millins, another of the volunteers at the site, to talk about monitoring and keeping the area tidy through community service litter picks.

“I’m quite optimistic they will have a positive impact,” said Mr Millins.

He hopes a greater police presence will deter further anti-social behaviour.

Mr Beckham agreed that a presence of authority was vital to protect the area and the complex and fragile ecosystem that exists there.

“People are too afraid to walk their dogs in the woods in the evenings anymore,”” he said, adding that a regular patrol by police or a community warden would discourage youths from using the area as a hangout.

“If we don’t do something about it, the whole area will get spoilt,” he warned.

“We have a lovely little nature reserve and it’s being ruined. For the reserve to thrive and succeed for future generations, we have got to protect it.”