Vandals’ fire wreaks havoc at nature reserve

Chairman of Friends of Brockholes, John Cribbin, shows the damage done by the fire to the polytunnels at Brockholes nature reserve

Chairman of Friends of Brockholes, John Cribbin, shows the damage done by the fire to the polytunnels at Brockholes nature reserve

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Arsonists have set work at Brockholes nature reserve back by weeks after torching a polytunnel.

The fire damaged the structure, soil and plants meaning Friends of Brockholes will have to seek hundreds of pounds worth of funding to bring it back to full working order.

Firemen attended the scene this morning to put out the blaze believed to have been started in early hours of the morning at the Lancashire Wildlife Trust reserve off the M6 at Preston.

The polytunnel has been the nursery for the reserves’ reed beds for the past five years with some of the reeds being bought by other groups including Chester Zoo.

Events and Communications Manager Sarah Leach said: “Our concern now is that the melted plastic has contaminated the soil – so volunteers will have to dig all that out – lots of hours of labour and lots of wasted compost. This hits the reserve financially.The polytunnel has been a multi-purpose building as our conservation volunteers would eat their lunch in there, sheltered from the weather.”

Sarah says staff will be looking at CCTV footage to help police identify the culprits. She said: “They appear to have gone to a lot of trouble to set the polytunnel alight, but there is no reason why they have done it. We will be checking our tapes and passing them on to the police. While the phrase “mindless vandalism” is over used it is relevant here. If the people who did this realised how many people this would affect and how much work it has created they might think twice about doing it again. It is just selfish.”

Anyone who can help with the funding or wishing to volunteer at Brockholes should call 01772 872000.