STAFF and volunteers at Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust have been left ‘distraught’ after the theft of construction materials delayed the arrival of beavers from Scotland.
The registered charity is currently constructing a new secure enclosure for the animals, ahead of their planned release in the Idle Valley Nature Reserve.
However, contractors were forced to halt works yesterday (September 1) after 17 rolls of specialist fencing mesh – worth thousands of pounds – were stolen overnight.
The Trust said that it believes the project’s location and amount of materials stolen ‘suggests’ that the theft was a planned and targeted operation.
Head of nature recovery (north) at Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, said, “The fencing materials were hidden well out of sight behind a locked barrier but someone who clearly knew exactly where to find them, has cut the padlock off overnight and stolen them. Each roll weighs 200kg, so this is not a quick or easy job, and we assume they were stolen to order.
“This is a sickening theft of specialist materials vital to our efforts to construct the secure enclosure ahead of the arrival of beavers from Scotland in the next few weeks. The majority of the mesh was specialist ‘otter fencing’, often used by commercial fisheries to protect fish stocks and like most fencing materials, is in short supply across the UK. We’ve been waiting for our delivery for weeks, so it is hugely upsetting and frustrating to have the project delayed due to criminal activity.
“The team have been working on this project for well over a year and we’re at a critical stage in preparing the enclosure, which is a huge task as it covers over 50 hectares. With the consultants in Scotland actively locating suitable beavers for our site at this very moment we cannot afford any delays.
“We would urge anyone that has any information about the theft or is aware of anyone trying to sell a large quantity of fencing mesh locally, including the special otter fencing and horse mesh, in suspicious circumstances to contact the police by dialling 101.”