Conservationists are incensed after a large bird nest box was found ripped down from a tree and burned out last night, possibly killing a nest of young doves in the process.
The wooden nest box was located 20 feet up a tree in the Little Twitten recreation ground in the centre of the village as part of an ongoing wildlife project set up by Ferring Conservation Group.
Chairman of the group, David Bettiss, said: “I am beyond angry at this example of stupid and selfish behaviour.
“The large heavy duty nest box was donated by a local resident and group members paid for it to be installed by a tree surgeon out of their own pockets.
“Now that has been destroyed by these people with no thought of the effect of their actions.
“Although we think that no tawny owls were in residence, it is likely that young stock doves may have been in the nest and would probably have died as a result.
“This part of our nest box project is in ruins.
“It was very lucky for them that the person responsible didn’t fall from the high branch in the pitch dark.”
Ferring Conservation Group say a resident was woken by banging from the park at about 3am on Monday and, fearing a break in, called the police who found nothing untoward in the dark.
The resident found the box on a small bonfire later on in the morning, next to a pitched tent and litter including empty beer cans.
The box had been secured with heavy duty rope and was likely cut down from high up in the tree.
The damage was reported to Sussex police and Arun District Council.