“IT makes you feel sick.”
These are the words of environmental campaigners in Southampton who continue to see a beauty spot damaged by vandals.
Miller’s Pond Local Nature Reserve in Sholing has been subjected to back-to-back arson attacks this month which have damaged the Botany Bay Meadow area.
The most recent incident saw a moped torched. A week previously firefighters tackled a blaze which wiped out a 50 sq ft area of grass.
The Sholing Valleys Study Centre group have expressed their concern for wildlife and reserve users as arson attacks, fly-tipping and the use of motorbikes in the area continue.
Founder and chairman of the Sholing Valleys Study Centre Colin Oliphant said: “This place to locals is Southampton’s little piece of the New Forest but it is being ruined and harmed by the mindless few and we want them to stop.
“People fought hard to save this site back in 1978 when houses were planned to be built here. Now we have a study centre, the site is protected and we were awarded a group MBE for our volunteering efforts.”
Rubbish such as old televisions, bicycles, tyres and general waste are regulary dropped on the reserve’s edge and recent findings include stems and leaves from cannabis plants as well as fertiliser pellets believed to be used in the production of the plant.
Mr Oliphant added: “There has been a spate of these pellets dropped all over the place and we really don’t know what is in them, which is very worrying as we don’t know if they can be harmful to wildlife or even small children.”
Inspector Martyn Gorse, of Hampshire police, said: “Police would encourage members of the public to report all incidents in this area so that we have a full understanding of what is happening.
“Damage to a wildlife reserve will not be tolerated and we want to work with the community to prevent recurrences of these incidents.”