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WALES: Drunk vandals hit listed RSPB tower; Damage to sanctuary view point.

Byline: By DAVID GREENWOOD

DRUNKEN vandals attacked an historic information centre overlooking a spectacular coastal sanctuary for sea birds, causing hundreds of pounds of damage.

RSPB Cymru was forced to close Elin's Tower, at South Stack, near Holyhead, for several hours after yobs smashed a window above the entrance at the weekend.

"We had no alternative but to shut up shop because of health and safety issues while the damaged window was boarded up," said Dave Bateson, who has been the society's South Stack cliffs warden for the last nine years.

"We also found the area strewn with empty beer cans and bottles. People had obviously been having some kind of a party, possibly late night Saturday, into Sunday, when the damage was caused."

Mr Bateson added:"We haven't worked out how much it is going to cost to repair the damage but it will run into hundreds of pounds. We had a break in at the tower last year but vandalism is pretty unusual."

Police are investigating and have appealed to anyone with information to contact them.

Mr Bateson discovered the damage at the reserve, which is a couple of miles west of Holyhead, on Sunday morning.

He said: "All of the staff and volunteers here are dismayed at this mindless act.

This is an excellent time of year to view the nesting seabirds and, although it will take time and money to replace the window, we will continue with our planned events and offer visitors a warm welcome."

Up to 4,000 breeding seabirds flock to the South Stack Cliffs nature reserve every year including guillemots, razorbills, puffins and fulmars. Choughs and ravens can also be seen at the site.

From its spectacular cliff edge location Elin's Tower, a grade II listed building, provides a bird's eye view of the cliffs.

Spotting scopes and binoculars are available at the top of the tower and a video screen is linked to a camera and microphone on the cliffs.

Anyone with information regarding this incident should contact police on 0845 607 1001 (Welsh language line) or 0845 607 1002 (English language line).

dgreenwooddp@hotmail.com

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RSPB warden Dave Bateson outside the listed Elin's Tower centre at South Stack (also pictured above) which has had to close while vandalism is repaired Pictures: GERALLT RADCLIFFE
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:May 15, 2007
Words:385
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