Firework bang linked to sheep's death was so loud 'it sounded like a gun'

Staff at a Shropshire nature reserve have appealed for people with fireworks to stay away after a loud bang was linked to a sheep's death.

The remnants of the fireworks were disposed of after the incident
The remnants of the fireworks were disposed of after the incident

In the run-up to bonfire night, workers at Stiperstones National Nature Reserve are keen to ram home the message that wildlife can be just as scared of the loud bangs as pets.

"If you think how scared dogs and cats can be with the fireworks, the wildlife at Stiperstones can react the same way," said Nikki Smart, visitor warden at Stiperstones and Downton Gorge.

"While we cannot definitely say that the bang would have killed the sheep, the farmer who was with a new calf at the time told us that even where he was it sounded like a gun going off."

The Shropshire Star earlier this week reported how staff had contacted the police following the incident at the Knolls car park on Thursday last week as letting fireworks off in a public place is illegal.

Nikki said she collected 12 different types of fireworks during the latest incident.

"Unfortunately this is not an isolated incident. We have people lighting campfires and it seems to have become a place to go," she added.

Even though Stiperstones nature reserve is miles from homes, Nikki said it is far from empty.

The Knolls car park at Stiperstones

"People often tell me there is nothing here," she said. "But that is not true. There is wildlife here - because people can't see it doesn't mean there is nothing here."

The reserve is a haven for birds including the red grouse, the meadow pipit, winter migrant birds and increasingly red kites.

"The incidents seem to be increasing. It seems to be the place for some people to go at night.

"I want to really stress that it is not the place to come to let off fireworks. A nature reserve is a place for the quiet enjoyment of the countryside.

"Please go to an organised display."

Contact details for the nature reserve are at facebook.com/StiperstonesNNR/.

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