Precious wildlife lost in arson attack

PATROLS of an Ipswich nature spot are today being stepped up after suspected firebugs destroyed five acres of grassland that was home to rare wildlife.

PATROLS of an Ipswich nature spot are today being stepped up after suspected firebugs destroyed five acres of grassland that was home to rare wildlife.

The blaze, which happened at about 3.45pm on Wednesday at the Pipers Vale area of Orwell Country Park in Gainsborough, destroyed long grass, heath land and gorse bushes.

Furious park manager Richard Sharpe said worms, lizards, and insects would have perished in the flames and he fears rare birds including Linnets, White Throats and Nightingales have been driven from the park, maybe never to return.

Mr Sharpe said: “It will take at least six to ten years for the area to recover. Around 50 per cent of the site has been lost.


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“Over the last two months there have been a spate of fires that have either been caught quickly or have been contained and haven't spread.

“Unfortunately this fire managed to spread right through the site and ripped out most of the important habitats the site is managed for.

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“Birds that breed and nest in the gorse bushes might have been able to fly off but their fledgling young wouldn't have been able to fly away to survive.

“We are going to lose a lot of bird species. Hopefully they will come back.”

Mr Sharpe said the specialist habitat is one of the last “strongholds” for rare birds in Ipswich.

He said: “It is possible we could have lost some birds forever due to mindless vandalism.”

News of increased patrols at Orwell County Park comes on the back of a crackdown on firebugs targeting Ipswich's Landseer Park, also in Gainsborough.

Firefighters have been called to several deliberately lit blazes in the park, prompting fears from parents that the area is no longer safe for children.

Patrols around Landseer Park are being increased as well.

Anyone with information on the Orwell Country Park fare is asked to contact Pc Darryll Dunnett at Suffolk Police on 01473 613500.

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