Accusations of wildlife killing in South Ribble are 'completely false' says Council
A bizarre series of handwritten signs have appeared in parks and woodlands in South Ribble recently, accusing the borough's council of 'killing' wildlife.
The signs had been pinned to fence posts around Leyland and had accused South Ribble Borough Council of "shooting and killing of every squirrel, rabbit and mallard duck that could be found".
They read: "Throughout the autumn and winter of 2019/2020, South Ribble Borough Council instigated the shooting and killing of every squirrel, rabbit and mallard duck that could be found. Shooting continues even in June.
"There was no public notification of their intentions, no public meetings, discussions or explanations given.
"There are now almost none of these creatures in parks and public areas."
Residents had been urged to object to the alleged killings in Worden Park and other green spaces by writing to South Ribble Borough Council (SRBC).
The author of the contentious signs is not known and no evidence has been provided to substantiate the claims. The signs also fail to provide a motive for the alleged culling of the borough's wildlife.
Visitors to South Ribble's parks and green spaces have noted that squirrels, rabbits and ducks, as well as other wildlife, appear to be visible as normal, with no discernible reduction in their numbers.
Yesterday evening (June 22), an irked SRBC responded to the allegations, stating that the "claims made in these handwritten notices are completely false".
A council spokesman said: "The council is aware of a series of handwritten notices that are being pinned to fence posts in and around Leyland which falsely claim that the council is involved in the "shooting and killing of every squirrel, rabbit and mallard duck that could be found" and that "shooting continues".
"The council would like to stress that the claims made in these handwritten notices are completely false.
"Please be assured: the council is not involved in any “shooting or killing” of wildlife whatsoever, and we are not, and would not, get involved in any sort of animal control – this is not something we would ever do.
"We’d like to say to the author of the handwritten notice: please, feel free to contact us directly about this, or anything else, but please do not spread false information about the council or our officers.
"We would appreciate it if the individual(s) concerned would desist from displaying these notices around Leyland so that no more disinformation can result from this."
It said residents can contact the Council on 01772 625 625 to discuss any concerns they might have about the allegations.
Last week, South Ribble Borough Council found itself embroiled in an unrelated controversy following a damning internal audit report that found rules and procedures at the district council had been “consistently breached” in recent years.
The audit assessments were presented to a meeting of the authority’s governance committee last Tuesday (June 16) and concluded that the Council had experienced a "significant breakdown in governance".
Its former chief executive Heather McManus has been on 'special leave' since May 2019, but is still being paid her full £100,000-plus salary, with an employment tribunal due to take place later this year.
You can read the report in full here.