Vandals set fire to bridge in latest attack on Waterlooville woodland

WRECKED The damaged bridge in Queens Inclosure
WRECKED The damaged bridge in Queens Inclosure

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THIS is the charred mess left of a woodland bridge set on fire by vandals.

The bridge was the main crossing point for animals and walkers across the Hermitage Stream, in Queens Inclosure, Waterlooville.

The 40-hectare woodland is full of wildlife and is popular with dog walkers and nature lovers.

But it is also a hotspot for yobs who hold regular parties, starting bonfires and smashing glass bottles.

The latest arson was at 6am on Sunday and the floor of the bridge was destroyed.

Forestry Commission ranger Pam Eastwood said: ‘We’re always having to repair the bridge because it gets vandalised so often but this is so bad it will have to be replaced.

‘It will have to be something tough, and we may even have to put in a concrete culvert which can’t be damaged.

‘I just can’t understand why anyone would do this.

‘It’s disappointing that people would behave like this and it means we’re constantly maintaining rather than actually making improvements.

‘Last year the police started patrolling at night and it seemed to sort the problem out but in the past two weeks the problem has started up again.

‘I’m going to ask the police to start patrolling again.’

Queens Inclosure is teeming with wildlife, including deer. Local schools use the woodland for nature trails.

Noreen Moore, of Oakmont Drive, Waterlooville, discovered the damage on Sunday.

She said: ‘I feel very strongly against mindless acts of vandalism – especially in places of natural beauty.

‘My worry is that unless we stem this behaviour, someone is going to be seriously hurt, either by the careless glass-smashing in the stream or setting the wood on fire.

‘When glass is smashed my huge worry is for dogs if they were to walk in or drink from the stream.

‘More importantly, this act of vandalism also endangers wildlife.’

Anyone with information should call Waterlooville police on 101.