Fire and vandalism at Barnstaple woodland

Damaged bench at Yeo Valley Woodland

Posted on: 2 June 2016

North Devon Council is calling on local residents in the Silverwood Heights area to keep an eye out for suspicious behaviour, following two fires at Yeo Valley Woodland in Barnstaple.

Last month, dead vegetation was set alight near the timber steps on the northern boundary of the woodland. The fire service attended and extinguished the fire. A cob bench was also vandalised at the woodland at around the same time, with the same bench then being further damaged by another fire some days later.  The bench will cost about £600 to replace.

Executive Member responsible for parks and leisure, Councillor Brian Moores, said: “I was really dismayed to hear about this mindless vandalism at Yeo Valley. It is particularly sad considering how much work the local community has put in to the woodland. Not only does fire cause damage it is potentially very dangerous so this is a really serious matter. We would like local residents to keep a keen eye on the woodland and report any suspicious behaviour to the police.”

Local ward member, Councillor Joy Cann, said: “After being informed and on viewing the fire damage caused to Yeo Valley Woodland, I am appalled that this has happened to this award-winning community area. I hope that anyone who knows anything about these incidents or witnesses any camping, camp fires or barbeques in the future will contact us or call the police on 101 immediately.”

Local ward member, Cllr Ian Roome, said: “On hearing about the fires at Yeo Valley Woodland, I went to see the damage myself. It’s completely unacceptable the damage that’s been caused by such acts of vandalism. I must praise our local fire service for their quick response time. The area is well used by the community and whilst I was there I saw lots of joggers and dog walkers. The space is looked after by many volunteers so the community can use it. Please respect it.”

Local residents with concerns or information about the woodland can contact the council’s parks team on 01271 388326 during office hours or call the police on 101 out of office hours.

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Posted in: Leisure