Dead bats found under Shrewsbury rail bridge

The discovery of dead bats beneath a Shropshire railway bridge undergoing a £1.8m revamp has been referred to police.

Three of the mammals were found under Shrewsbury's main railway bridge by a member of the public.

Shropshire Council said the matter was referred to police as bats are a European protected species.

Network Rail said there was "very little information" to suggest the dead bats were linked to the works.

The bridge is currently the focus of an upgrade project by Network Rail, which involves repairs and repainting.

A council spokeswoman said it was technically a criminal offence to harm bats.

She said the council had spoken to Network Rail to advise them to contact Natural England.

'Monitoring the situation'

A Network Rail spokesman said: "An ecology survey was carried out before our work started and there was no evidence of bats.

"Considering the location of the encapsulation, there is very little information to suggest that the dead bats are linked to our works.

"However, we have arranged for an ecologist to examine the site and provide an expert opinion on this."

The spokeswoman said work had not been suspended.

A West Mercia Police spokesman said: "We are aware that concerns have been expressed and we are monitoring the situation.

"However, it is yet to be established if an offence has been committed so we have no direct involvement at this stage."

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