RESIDENTS say their lives are being made a misery due to continuous vandalism, antisocial behaviour and fly tipping at a wildlife reserve in Barling.

Villagers and those living nearby say there has been incidents of vandalism to Barling Magna Wildlife Reserve which included seats being set on fire and the duck house thrown into the pond, as well as continued antisocial behaviour and flytipping since the summer.

Resident Stuart Bines, 60, from Little Wakering, who is retired, said: “The wildlife reserve is run by a handful of volunteers who clean up the mess. The warden of the reserve has raised her concerns to both the Parish Council and Rochford Council.

“The reserve is a labour of love and is used by all people from the village and further afield. Families frequent the place at weekends and the residents are fearful that it will gain a reputation for being unsafe as well as the problem of the country lanes being used to dump builders’ rubbish and other materials.”

Residents are working on a rota basis to lock the car park up at dusk and open at first light. Mr Bines added: “People are very generous when they feel their environment is threatened.”

He has reported the vandalism and antisocial behaviour to the police and hopes something will be done to prevent more damage in the future.

Simon Sperry, 52, of Kimberley Road, Little Wakering, a civil engineer, said it causes problems for residents, especially the rubbish left over in the car park.

“There is illegal use of the reserve going on down there. The dumping of rubbish along the side is a nuisance and it can cause problems because there’s a single track down there. You have to be careful when walking.”

Jo McPherson, Rochford District councillor responsible for the Environment, said the council was aware of the problem of flytipping.

She said: “The high number of fly tips at these locations usually occur at night or weekends.

“The Streetscene Team are carrying out extra patrols regularly, to try to deter fly tippers and also to identify when an instance has occurred so that it can be cleared straight away. At the same time our contractor is also aware of these hotspots and the crews also check daily for any fly tips so that they can be cleared as soon as they occur.”

Police request that anyone with information call them on 101.