Chichester Harbour vandalised

Countryside ranger Keith Rathbone by the bird hide which was extenally damaged and sprayed with offensive graffitti which had to be removed. C120513-1
Countryside ranger Keith Rathbone by the bird hide which was extenally damaged and sprayed with offensive graffitti which had to be removed. C120513-1

Vandals have struck at one of Chichester Harbour’s most-visited beauty spots.

Thoughtless hooligans spray-painted the bird hide at Ellanore Spit, covering it in blue paint. They also uprooted an oak tree, planted in December to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Chichester Harbour Conservancy.

Countryside officers from the group were devastated when they arrived at work on Monday, April 2, to find the damage.

“This is so disappointing for us, as our volunteers have spent many hours maintaining the bird hide for the public to enjoy,” said Nicky Horter, countryside officer for Chichester Harbour Conservancy.

“We are particularly upset about the anniversary oak tree which was found uprooted on the beach. We hope we can save it.”

In December pupils from Birdham Primary School planted the tree to celebrate the birthday of Chichester Harbour Conservancy. A total of 40 trees are being planted across the Chichester Harbour area to mark the special anniversary.

At the time, rangers from the conservancy helped youngsters from Years 5 and 6 to dig a hole, showed them how to arrange the roots and gave advice on caring for the tree as it grows. A special medallion was hung on the tree denoting it was one of the 40 oaks for 40 years.

Siun Cranny, director of the conservancy, said they had chosen oak trees as they are an iconic part of the harbour’s precious landscape. Police are now investigating the vandals’ attack at Ellanore Spit, one of the most important areas of vegetated shingle within the harbour.

The conservancy group is asking anyone witnessing anti-social behaviour in rural areas of Chichester Harbour to contact their local Police Community Support Officer with information.