Swindon squirrels blamed for damage to car brakes

Image caption,
The RSPCA warned people not to try and catch the squirrels

Squirrels are to blame for damage to ABS braking cables on vehicles in north Swindon, a police investigation has found.

Officers initially thought deliberate criminal damage was the cause of the incidents and carried out high visibility patrols.

After telephone cables to homes were also damaged, forensic examination found squirrels were the culprits.

The RSPCA said: "Squirrels do have a tendency to chew through wires."

Wiltshire Police appealed for information earlier this month after seven vehicles had their cables cut in just over two weeks.

Letters were delivered to residents advising on protecting their vehicle and what to do if it was damaged.

Insp Pete Chamberlain said that as well as forensic tests, many local residents were spoken to who confirmed a recent increase in squirrel activity.

He said: "We are looking to work with Swindon Borough Council's pest control officers to try and deal with this issue.

"It is not only ABS cables that the rodents have attacked but several telephone wires in the area so people's lives have been affected in many ways."

The RSPCA spokesman said: "It is important that members of the public do not try to catch the squirrels and take the law into their own hands.

"Squirrels may well bite if cornered which may result in a hospital visit or at least a tetanus jab."

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