Church wildlife haven destroyed by council contractors

Churchyard Image copyright Daniel Villa
Image caption The "living churchyard" meadow was cut down by council contractors

A "living churchyard" meadow has been destroyed and wildlife killed after council contractors mowed around signs warning not to cut the grass.

Dead hedgehogs and fledgling birds were found "mangled" in St Andrew's churchyard in Tywardreath Cornwall.

The long grass meadow was accidentally cut down by Cormac council contractors four months earlier than usual.

Cormac apologised for the error and said it wanted to work with the local community to "put it right".

'Mow the whole area'

Local resident Daniel Villa said he was "livid" after the company "strimmed around the signs that states no cutting back will be done until autumn".

He said: "They drove their big mowers over the graves, damaging them.

"Four dead hedgehogs were found mangled by the machinery along with several fledgling birds, frogs. All the wild flowers are gone, along with all the bees , butterflies and other abundant pollinators that were there."

Image copyright Daniel Villa
Image caption Dead fledging birds, hedgehogs and frogs were found in the destroyed meadow
Image copyright Daniel Villa
Image caption Local resident David Villa said he was "livid" the grass was cut despite signs warning against it

Churchwarden David Hughes said: "The team who came don't normally do it, it's a great pity.

"We've lost a big chunk of the food chain because the wildflowers have been chopped down before they've seeded."

Following the incident, the residents are now looking at setting up a Friends of Tywardreath Churchyard community group.

Cormac said: "We are sincerely sorry that the breakdown in communication led us to mow the whole area in June rather than in October.

"We will be in contact with the parish council to review the incident further and make sure the correct lines of communication are put in place.

"We also hope the concerned residents will help us to put it right by letting us help with the new friends of group."

Image copyright Daniel Villa
Image caption Cormac apologised for the incident

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