Thieves steal fox and hare from Little Woolden Moss

The fox statue stolen from Little Woolden Moss. Photo: Alan Wright

A wildlife trail to encourage families to visit a Salford nature reserve has been hit by thieves, again.

Two wooden sculptures and a bench have been stolen from Little Woolden Moss, close to Cadishead Moss, and Lancashire Wildlife Trust is asking people to look out for the objects around the area and on the internet.

It is the third time that Little Woolden Moss nature reserve has been targeted, with vandals wrecking a sculpture and another bench being taken.

The artworks were installed about a year ago on the Lancashire Wildlife Trust reserve as part of the Bog Hop Trail to introduce young people to different plants and animals on the moss.

The Trust’s Carbon Landscape Access and Events Officer Lydia Dayes said: “Sculptures of a hare and a fox have been stolen and also a decorated bench. The fox and the hare were made by chainsaw artist Mike Burgess. The bench was created by Start Art, an organisation which is helping mental health through artwork. They were both funded by Tesco Bags of Health and the Heritage Lottery Fund.”

The mosses are about half a mile from Irlam and Cadishead and surrounded by agricultural fields, so they are quite remote. They are being restored by the Wildlife Trust to create areas of sphagnum moss to attract wildlife and to capture and store carbon.

LWT Campaigns Officer Alan Wright said: “The Bog Hop Trail was created to introduce families to the wonderful nature they have on their doorstep. We are really proud that many children have already enjoyed the trail.

Bog Hop event on Little Woolden Moss

Local children having fun at a Bog Hop on Little Woolden Moss. Photo: Lydia Dayes

“Now, because of the actions of a few selfish thieves a lovely part of trail has gone. It still surprises me that someone can destroy something that provides a benefit for thousands of others and their local environment.

“I have to stress that crimes like this mean that the thieves’ children and grand-children will not have the joy of seeing these creatures helping to tell the story of the moss. It is a very selfish act.”

The stolen sculptures are quite bulky and would have had to be carried in a large trailer or vehicle by the thieves.

Alan said: “We have reported this to the police but it would be great to get the public to help us to find the sculptures and the bench. I cannot see the point in stealing something like this and keeping it hidden so they must be on show somewhere.

“They may try to sell them so if someone is offered a hare sculpture locally or sees them on something like Ebay, please contact the police.”