Park volunteers feel ‘targeted’ after bird feeders stolen from wildlife centre

Petty criminals are targetting the Wildlife Centre in South Park. Park keeper Francesca Cliff, Chris

Petty criminals are targetting the Wildlife Centre in South Park. Park keeper Francesca Cliff, Christine Poole, Elaine and Tony Webb, Sylvia West, and Lorraine and Alan Dawes - Credit: Archant

A group of volunteers which maintains a park has said it feels targeted by petty criminals after four bird feeders went missing overnight.

Tony Webb, of the South Park Users’ Group, said the metal feeders appeared to have been stolen from the roof of the Wildlife, Information and Education Centre on Tuesday night.

Now Mr Webb is urging residents and visitors to the park to report any suspicious activities to the police.

“It’s petty crime but we just feel so incensed,” said Mr Webb.

“Why would anyone be so moronic?”

He said the theft had been reported to police, but the group did not expect to recover the animal feeders.

“Realistically, there’s nothing which can be done – nevertheless, it’s now been logged as a crime,” he said.

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“We have to be vigilant – people get up to all sorts of things in that park.

“We have one park keeper called Francesca who does a marvellous job, but she’s only one person. She has to have time off.

“We get people climbing over the railing to get in at night – it’s practically a full-time job trying to keep an eye on the place.”

The group was formed in 2009 to help maintain the park, funding new facilities and carrying out jobs such as litter-picking, as well as working with the police to tackle anti-social behaviour and vandalism.

They raised £14,000 to convert a disused boathouse into the wildlife centre.

“It feels like we are being targeted at the moment,” said Mr Webb.

A Redbridge Council spokesman said: “South Park Users Group is a fantastic local organisation that has worked with us to help transform South Park into the excellent green space it is today.

“We completely sympathise with the group and would appeal to members of the public and people using the park to come forward with any information that they may have about this crime and any others.

“We work hard to make all our parks and green spaces as safe and secure as possible but we need the community to help us identify scoundrels such as this who would take advantage of those showing fantastic civic pride and a determination to improve the borough.”

To report any suspicious incidents, contact Redbridge Community Police Team on 07904 640 042. In an emergency call 999.

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