Staff and volunteers at Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust have been left angry and distraught as efforts to construct a secure enclosure for beavers ahead of their planned release in the Idle Valley Nature Reserve were delayed, following the theft of seventeen rolls of specialist fencing mesh, worth thousands of pounds, overnight.
Anger as Idle Valley beaver enclosure delayed due to theft of materials
Contractors working on the fencing project ahead of the release, planned for late September or early October, discovered the theft on the morning of September 1st and reported it to the Police. Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust, a registered charity, believes that the remote location of the fencing job and the amount of mesh stolen suggests that this was a planned, targeted operation.
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 101Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust
Speaking about the theft, Head of Nature Recovery (North) Janice Bradley 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.”
2021 has been billed as a record year for beaver reintroductions in the UK with the East Midlands leading the charge. Both Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Wildlife Trusts making final preparations to reintroduce beavers to their respective counties for the first time in over 400 years thanks to funding from Severn Trent Water’s Big Nature Boost and public donations.
Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust plans to reintroduce at least four beavers into a huge enclosure at the Idle Valley Nature Reserve to harness the power of natural processes to make what is already one of the best inland nature-watching places in the region even richer for wildlife. Over the border, Derbyshire Wildlife Trust is preparing to release two beaver families and their kits into an enclosed area of Willington Wetlands reserve in the Trent valley.
Janice added: “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.”
A further theft occured the following night of which the update can be read here with the crime incident numbers for anyone who can call 101 with information.
How you can help support us
This incident comes at a crucial time in our preparations for the arrival of the beavers and we are doing everything we can to keep the fencing project on track. The disruption and extra work the theft has caused means we’ll inevitably need to find many thousands of pounds in extra funds. The backing for our Bringing Back Beavers Appeal has been very generous to date but we hope that people feel able to support us at this challenging time.