Vandals jeopardise squirrel work

RED squirrel supporter Norris Atthey has warned that his work is at risk following repeated vandalism attacks on his vehicles.

Mr Atthey, who chairs the Morpeth Red Squirrels group, has forked out £1,000 for repairs as a result of 16 punctures.

All are believed to have been caused by piercing from a dart-type instrument while the vehicles were parked on the driveway of Mr Atthey’s home in Forge Estate, Ulgham.

Last month, the Herald reported that three tyres had been pierced on a Vauxhall Astra belonging to Mr Atthey’s wife, and last week a tyre on his Land Rover Freelander was punctured.

Now Mr Atthey says the attacks are jeopardising his red squirrel conservation activities.

“I bought the Freelander just to do grey control because I need it to get to areas you can’t reach in a car. If these attacks continue I will have to get rid of it and that will be the end of my activities.” he said.

“A few weeks ago my wife’s life was put in danger when her tyres were done, the whole thing is getting quite serious.

“Red squirrel conservation in Morpeth is at risk. I do this work voluntarily and there is a limit to what I can afford.

“What is really annoying is that I bought the Freelander when I couldn’t really afford it just for my squirrel activities.”

Mr Atthey believes that culling grey squirrels is vital to securing the future of the red population.