Ipswich: Patrols stepped up after vandals strike area of Ipswich park

PATROLS are today being stepped up at Bourne Park in Ipswich after vandals targeted an area which was being used to boost the barn owl population in Suffolk.

Park bosses were left in a state of shock when they discovered that about 120 stakes, which were being used to protect young trees, had been ripped out of the ground during the weekend.

The area was being used as a feeding ground for barn owls, which it was hoped would encourage them to stay in the area, as part of the Suffolk Community Barn Owl Project.

Joe Underwood, 30, wildlife and education ranger, said: “We were mapping some paths (at the park) and while we were there we uncovered about 120 trees that had stakes ripped out.

“It was a bit disappointing because it took us a couple of days to redo the work which is time we have lost.”

The stakes were fitted to the trees, which attract prey for the owls, last winter by a band of volunteers who spent hours at work.

Mr Underwood said he was forced to put the stakes back straight away with the help of colleagues, or risk them being damaged by other animals including rabbits and deer.

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Following the incident at the weekend, staff at the park are set to put new measures in place to make sure the vandalism does not happen again.

Mr Underwood added: “We will be stepping up patrols so that we can keep an eye on the area.

“Please appreciate the work that is done by volunteers and people in the community.

“Have a bit of thought about the time and effort that people have put in to this.”

The aim of the Suffolk Community Barn Owl Project was to erect habitats for the animals across Suffolk at various parks and reserves.

The vandalism has not yet been reported to police but Mr underwood said they are planning to report it.

? Were you one of the people who helped in the area last winter? Tell us your thoughts by writing to Your Letters, Ipswich Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or send an e-mail to starletters@archant.co.uk