Patrols continuing after anti-social behaviour at nature reserve
- Credit: John Arnold
A popular nature reserve which has been hit by a spate of anti-social behaviour (ASB) is seeing the issues addressed with police patrols ramped up.
With the crime continuing around Lowestoft's Carlton and Oulton marshes - run by the Suffolk Wildlife Trust - officers have conducted "proactive patrols" recently.
It comes after bird hides were broken into and damaged at Carlton marshes last month, a couple of weeks after a popular viewing platform at Oulton marshes had been destroyed by fire over the weekend of June 11/12.
Amid increasing reports of vandalism across the nature reserve, officials at Suffolk's nature charity were forced into temporarily closing the bird hides - meaning birders and keen wildlife photographers have been prevented from using the facilities.
These still remain shut a month on from the hides having been "broken into, with doors kicked in, windows smashed and alcohol bottles left strewn across the site".
Over recent weeks large groups of people have been reportedly been gathering and causing "general anti-social behaviour", while incidents involving "the ASB use of motor vehicles" have also been reported.
This has now led the North East Suffolk team at the county's nature charity to lock the Carlton Marshes car park at 5.30pm until further notice.
Matt Gooch, the North East sites manager at Suffolk Wildlife Trust, said: "We have had the police down there pretty much every evening.
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"So far - touch wood - we have not had any more vandalism.
"If anyone sees anything happening they should call 999 immediately but if it is issues of glass, bottles or rubbish being left they should report it to 101 as well.
"We are continuing to lock the hides and now we have had to shut the car park and lock it at 5.30pm for the foreseeable future."
A police spokesman said: "Please be assured, police are working with Suffolk Wildlife Trust to address the issues at Carlton Marshes to provide a safe environment for visitors and will be conducting proactive patrols in the area at relevant times.
"We shall be engaging with those we see or suspect to be involved in ASB and hope to initially advise only, but, should enforcement be necessary, Section 59 Notices can be issued."