‘Mindless vandals’ have targeted Idle Valley Nature Reserve near Retford putting the lives of cattle at risk.
It is believed that stock fencing at the reserve appeared to have been deliberately vandalised last weekend.
Several cows escaped as a result and at least one was injured when it came into contact with the damaged fence. A number of cows also ended up in the River Idle.
Notts Wildlife Trust estimates repairing the damaged has so far cost in excess of £6,000 in materials and staff time.
Charles Langtree, of the wildlife trust, said: “To have animals hurt as a result of mindless vandalism beggars belief. To find ourselves having to spend charitable funds meant for positive nature conservation to repair criminal damage is extremely frustrating.”
“By damaging our fencing the vandal or vandals not only injured an animal, but put others at risk of drowning as they ended up in the River Idle.”
“Thankfully my team have done a wonderful job of getting the animals back in safely this time, but I have been forced to put this in the hands of the police.”
“We have invested significant resources at the Idle Valley to help create one of the most important nature reserves in the region.”
“Over the past seven years we have worked closely with local residents and site users to ensure they are aware of our aims and understand how we are trying to manage the reserve for both wildlife and people. “Our efforts have been largely well received and where possible we adapt our plans to take into account local feedback but to find ourselves wasting time and energy dealing with vandalism right in the middle of our busy winter work season is a distraction we could do without.”
The Wildlife Trust, a registered charity, is now working with the police to gather evidence about the incident and to prevent similar incidents in the future.
Mr Langtree added: “If this was pure vandalism, then we would urge people to think about the consequences of their actions.”
“If the perpetrator was trying to send some sort of message about the fencing or management, this is not the right way to do go about it.”
“If people have genuine concerns relating to any aspect of management across the Idle Valley site we would be happy to talk to them.”
Anyone with information about the incident should contact the police on 101 or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111