Mole killer's grisly display of victims

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Moles of Lancashire beware – the mystery why a number of them were left hanging from a fence has been revealed.

The dead animals were strung up on a barbed wire fence on Black House Lane, near Chipping, in a throwback to olden days when mole catchers would show off their work to get paid.

John Noblett, who runs Lancashire Mole Control, said trappers hung the animals on fences so landowners could see how many they had snared and pay them by the mole.

The catchers would display up to 100 of the unfortunate creatures, as well as crows and other animals considered vermin.

Mr Noblett, who lives in Warton, near Preston, said: "The chances are this will be some old fella who has caught some moles and still hangs them on the fences.

"It used to not only show off what a good job the catcher had done, but also the landowner or whoever was paying could count them up and pay them.

"They used to have to leave the moles hanging there though, otherwise they could take it on to the next job and get paid twice for the same animal."

He added that there was nothing illegal about the practice but said he never did it as it was "not in very good taste".

Chipping resident Graham Wilkinson, who is also chairman of the parish council, said it is not an unusual sight.

He said: "The first time we saw them they were a little bit surprising but now we have lived in the country a bit longer. From time to time you do get a row of them hanging up on a fence.

"Moles are lovely little creatures but if one of them came up in your prized lawn, I don't think you'd be too happy."

Moles have no legal protection in the UK and are widely regarded as pests by farmers, horticulturalists and green-keepers.

They spend almost all their lives underground in tunnels which can cause plant roots to wilt and die. Mole hills also cause damage to farm machinery and contamination of grass used to make silage.

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