Concern over foxes at Cowplain school

A fox has sparked a school alert
A fox has sparked a school alert

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CHEMICAL deterrents and sonic alarms are being deployed over concerns about foxes entering a school playground.

Staff at Padnell Junior School, in Cowplain, are taking extra precautions after a fox was seen entering the school field and walking close to the children as they ate their lunch.

Parent Amelia New, 34, was shocked when she saw a fox going about 10ft from the children and feeding on scraps from lunch boxes.

The foxes live in woods surrounding the school, but one in particular is getting very bold, she says.

Mrs New said she has regularly seen fox excrement on the school field.

She said: ‘They carry all sorts of diseases. If it’s going up to the children while they are eating their lunch, that’s health and safety.’

Mrs New, of Hazleton Way, added: ‘It worries me. I am not being a neurotic mother.

‘It bothers me. I think they should relocate it. I don’t want to see a child getting bitten or catching something from the faeces that’s around.’

Headteacher Sandra Lawlor has sent a letter to all parents and said the children’s wellbeing was her ‘utmost priority’.

She said: ‘We have sought advice and guidance from the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust and the RSPCA and have been advised that foxes are not considered vermin.

‘Foxes remain in a particular area as long as there is an ample food supply.

‘Both schools ensure no food waste is accessible and we will continue to ensure bins are emptied and the site is checked regularly.’

She said there were seven staff on duty at lunchtimes.

She added: ‘On advice from Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, we will be deploying the use of a chemical deterrent around the perimeter of the school playgrounds and buildings and installing some sonic devices which will be placed at strategic points around the site.’

The devices emit a deterrent sound that only foxes can hear.

Biologist Wez Smith, RSPB site manager for Langstone and Chichester Harbour, said he had only known one occasion of a fox biting in 20 years.

He said foxes would generally only be aggressive if their cubs were threatened.