Beds, Herts & Bucks

Arsonists destroy wildlife haven near Milton Keynes

Arsonists are being blamed for the destruction of reed bed wildlife havens at a Buckinghamshire nature reserve.

The beds at the Blue Lagoon nature reserve, near Bletchley, are protected as a priority habitat.

Small fires set alight around the site at the weekend have destroyed reeds which shelter nesting birds and other animals at this time of year.

Other wildlife affected includes great crested newts, grass snakes and lizards, Milton Keynes council said.

'Irresponsible few'

Chris Coppock, countryside officer for the council, said: "This is the first time it has happened at the peak time of bird nesting.

"In this case we have lost the Blue Lagoon's main reed bed.

"Reed beds are a priority habitat, and even small ones like this are valuable."

Mike Galloway, cabinet member responsible for the countryside, said: "It seems that there is always an irresponsible few that wish to destroy the enjoyment of a wonderful natural resource for the people of Milton Keynes.

"It is a real tragedy that potentially so much rare wildlife could have been killed during this fire."

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