10th Jul, 2020

'Devastation' as litter and drug paraphernalia sully Solihull nature reserve

John Carlon 1st Jun, 2020

THESE pictures show litter and debris creating ‘devastation’ at Earlswood Lakes.

The beauty spot was inundated over the weekend (May 31) by revellers partying in the sunshine, despite coronavirus lockdown measures remaining in place.

One resident of Dickens Heath, Sarah Hickinbotham, said: “I felt sickened by the mountains of bottles, cans, fast food wrappers, and gas cannisters (with their illicit contents drawn) strewn all the way around the lakeside. It was heartbreaking to witness new born ducklings clumsily navigate the paraphernalia obstructing their natural habitat.

“I visit the lakes once or twice a month and it always feels an utter privilege to have something so idyllic and peaceful on our doorstep.

“But, if it continues to be sullied in such a manner, I would welcome permanent closure to the general public for the sake of the wildlife and the long-suffering residents whose homes back onto the reserve.”

The nature reserve is now under a police dispersal order following the weekend’s scenes.

Officers from Stratford District Safer Neighbourhood Team took the action following a string of issues including with drug use, littering, noise and congregating groups. There have also been reports of fish theft.

The order gives officers the power to disperse anyone causing problems. People who fail to disperse can be arrested.

The order lasts until 1pm on Monday (June 1) and officers will be patrolling the area during this time.

Insp Allison Wiggin said: “There have been reports of groups of 100 people congregating and this is causing a lot of community tension during the pandemic.

“We have tried to engage with the groups and encourage them to disperse and not come back, but this has been ignored and we have been left with no option but to take this action.

“My officers ended up cleaning up the awful mess left by people yesterday. These officers should be policing their local community, not picking up litter, but given the mess left behind we were left with no choice. We will not tolerate this.

“While this order is only in place until Monday, people should be under no illusion that this will be the end of our activity. We will continue to police the area and clamp down on people behaving in an antisocial manner.”

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