VANDALS have destroyed a popular bird watching point near Wigan Flashes.
The bird hide, which is located at the south end of the flashes, was set alight by yobs last month and one Wigan Evening Post reader is “sickened” by it.
The man, 43, of Kitt Green, said: “I often ride my bike down the canal past the Scotmans Flash.
“I went out on Monday, May 30 on my normal route and was dismayed to see that a bird hide where I normally have a rest break has been vandalized.
“Someone spent a lot of time and money to put the wooden hide there and it makes my blood boil to see it in such a state.
“The vandals obviously put a lot of effort into destroying the hide, burning it and prizing off large wooden sleepers which where floating in the water when I saw it, which is not very nice for the wildlife.
“Someone must have seen it happen as there is always someone walking their dog in that area.”
Helen Rimmer, Wigan Flashes Project Manager, said: “The damage was reported to us on May 19 and we sent in a team to assess the bird hide. Unfortunately, part of it had been set on fire, so we made the hide safe and reported it to the police.
“Thankfully, due to diligent users of the flashes, such as Mr Standing, this sort of thing is a lot more uncommon than it perhaps has been in the past. We are planning to rebuild the hide in the near future.”
The Reserve is part of a larger network of important wetland habitats, running for approximately 9km along the Leigh branch of the Leeds Liverpool Canal. These include Hey Brook, Abram Flashes, Pennington Flash Country Park and Hope Carr Nature Reserve.
The Flashes are known for their resident and wintering waterfowl such as Grey Heron, Tufted Duck and Coot as well as 200 species of bird, 15 species of dragonfly and six species of orchid.
A spokesperson for Greater Manchester Police (GMP) said: “We believe the offence took place some time between 7pm on May 18 and 9am on May 19. If anybody has any information please contact Greater Manchester Police on 0161 856 6090 or call the independent charity Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.”