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28 April 2013, 11:18
A birdwatching hide at Milton Keynes' Walton Lake has been destroyed in a suspected arson attack.
It's the second birdwatching hide to have been destroyed at the location.
The hide was discovered ablaze just before 6pm on Thursday 25 April 2013 by The Parks Trust's Community Rangers. They had been inspecting the site following reports of graffiti and fence damage the previous day.
Martin Kincaid, Biodiversity Officer at The Parks Trust, said: “Walton Lake is one of the richest spots in Milton Keynes to enjoy wildlife and over the years our volunteers and contractors have worked really hard to preserve this precious habitat. It’s very upsetting for us all as this is the second bird hide that has been destroyed at this location.”
The Parks Trust are appealing for anyone with information to call Thames Valley Police on the non-emergency number 101, quoting the crime reference number DF4242921/13.
Firefighters from Broughton Fire Station put out the fire using a jet and a portable pump.
Greg Smith, Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service's Service Delivery Manager for Milton Keynes, said: "We’re lucky to have facilities like this in Milton Keynes, and it’s very disappointing that someone has done this.
“The fact that this fire was in a remote location made access for firefighters difficult. It also put a strain on the resources of the organisations who had to deal with it.”
Walton Lake was originally built as a balancing lake for the River Ouzel. It was no longer needed to absorb floodwater once Willen and Caldecotte Lakes were created so was allowed to fill with reeds, creating a very different habitat from the open waters of most of the city's other lakes. It is now the most substantial reedbed in Milton Keynes.