Havering Council contractor in court over vole habitat damage

A site manager accused of destroying water vole habitats believes he is not to blame for the work as he was “first and foremost an employee” of Havering Council.

Tony Seaman, who pleaded not guilty to the damage and destruction of the animal shelter at Ingrebourne Valley Nature Reserve at Barkingside Magistrates’ Court on Friday (April 13), will call witnesses to support his claim.

The 75-year-old was sub-contracted by Havering Council to complete the work alongside a dredging company under direction from the council.

The court heard that exhibits examining the damage had been put together however they had been deemed illegible by the defence and expert witnesses were crucial to the case.

The case management hearing will be on May 10 and a trial date has been set for July 2 at Havering Magistrates’ Court.

The council, which owns the reserve, was clearing silt and debris from the River Ingrebourne to reduce the risk of flooding to nearby homes when the alleged damage occurred.

The offence, under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, carries a maximum �5,000 fine.

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