Fears over rise of poaching in South Shields park - with reports of mauled animals found by visitors
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The South Shields beauty spot is popular with walkers and families, but some fear the area’s tranquility and safety is being put at risk as a result of harm to wildlife.
The warning has come as police say they are starting to get a handle on other reports of widespread antisocial behaviour (ASB) in and around the park.
“There’s other, deeper problems in Temple Park because there’s also a lot of people poaching and people are angry about this,” said Coun Doreen Purvis, who represents South Tyneside Council’s Whiteleas ward.
“It’s not just a place of beauty, people use it to cross to their place of work, but if there’s idiots about taking pot shots then people will be hurt.
“I appreciate the difficulties the police have, but it is becoming a real problem with people finding the carcasses of mauled animals.”
Coun Purvis was speaking at a meeting of the West Shields, Cleadon and East Boldon Community Area Forum (CAF), which considers ongoing issues in the area and also awards grants to host events or make improvements.
Sgt Claire Fada, of Northumbria Police, told the panel several offenders believed to be behind a spate of ASB incidents in and around Temple Park had been identified and added ‘the plan is for them to complete community work in and around the area’.
However, there is not thought to have been a significant rise in formal reports of poaching or other wildlife offences made to police or other organisations.
A Council spokesman said: “The Council does not permit any kind of hunting on public land and anyone who hunts in this area is breaking the law.
“Anyone who witnesses this taking place is urged to contact the police as they are the enforcing body for illegal hunting.”
A Northumbria Police spokesman said: “We take all reports of wildlife crime very seriously and anyone who causes unnecessary suffering to an animal could face criminal action.
“Anyone who witnesses cruelty or an animal in distress should contact the RSPCA direct or call 101.”