Don't miss a story sign up to Weston Mercury's FREE daily newsletter CLICK HERE

Two red deer drowned as park is targeted

PUBLISHED: 10:00 24 March 2011

Gavin Clarke ground man. Alstone Wildlife Park, Highbridge, were two deer were killed.

Gavin Clarke ground man. Alstone Wildlife Park, Highbridge, were two deer were killed.


THE owner of a Somerset wildlife park says she is being ‘persecuted’ after two of her deer were drowned, and two others had their horns mutilated.

Gavin Clarke ground man. Alstone Wildlife Park, Highbridge, were two deer were killed.

Helen Duckett, owner of Alstone Wildlife Park near Highbridge, spoke to the Mercury after two red deer were drowned at the park last week having being chased out of their enclosure and into the River Brue in the early hours of March 15.

Two male deers have also had their horns mutilated by knives, while in the past five months all 40 birds in one of the park’s aviaries have been stolen.

Staff were first made aware of the break-in at around midnight, when grounds man Gavin Cooke received an anonymous phone call telling him that the deer had escaped and were in Clyce Road in Highbridge, over the river from the park.

Having crossed the bridge and gone onto the road, he realised that the deer were in fact still on the river’s southern bank, where several had become stuck in mud of the river’s bank.

Although he rescued several of the animals, two were stuck, and were washed away when the tide went out the next morning.

Staff realised that two panels of the deer’s seven-foot high wire enclosure had been taken out and that the antlers from two of the animals had been cut, with one removed completely.

The same two panels were also found removed this weekend, and Mr Cooke received another anonymous call on Sunday evening, although the deer were found in their enclosure.

Mrs Duckett, who has run the park for the past two decades, said: “The deer would never have run into the river, not in a hundred years, unless they were chased.

“We feel persecuted, as this is only the last in a series of incidents. I’ve gone out in the morning and found the doors to some of the enclosures open, with chipmunks and guinea pigs running around.”

She said that in three incidents since November, one aviary had been broken into, and all of the birds, including Cockatoos, Kakarikis and Diamond Doves had been taken.

Mrs Duckett added that because of the incidents, the park would now not open for Easter, but would hopefully do so for the summer.

Sergeant Ian Kennett of Avon and Somerset Police said: “We are aware of what has happened at the park, and we are looking into it.”


Other News Stories


Weston-super-Mare’s Labour Party hit the streets to protest against the Government’s latest budget, saying people ‘deserve better’ than an ‘underfunded’ NHS.

Read more

Weston Town Council decided who will be the town’s mayor and deputy mayor for the next year at its meeting on Monday.

Read more

Weston’s Cancer Research UK committee held its annual knit-in at the town’s football club, with more than 65 keen knitters taking part.

Read more

A curry night has raised £855 for an animal charity.

Read more

A Weston hotel worker had his head shaved in aid of one of the town’s most popular charities.

Read more

A Somerset care home has earned praise from the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Read more

Students from a North Somerset school reinvented a classic story this week for a quirky performance.

Read more

A sea cadet unit is on the lookout for new members to join its ranks.

Read more

Supporters of a Weston-super-Mare charity were given a reason to celebrate this week when the winner of a prize worth £500 was chosen.

Read more

The NSPCC has called on parents to check the age limits on social media, with a recent survey revealing 16 per cent of adults in the South West were unaware a restriction existed.

Read more

Most Read News

Read Online

Read the Weston Worle and Somerset Mercury e-edition E-edition

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 14°C

min temp: 7°C

Useful Links

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
Send Your Letters
Order Photos
Family notices
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Show Job Lists

Local business directory

Somerset's trusted business finder