The secretary of an Upminster fishing club has called for vandals to be educated after alleging spray paint killed nesting birds.

Alan Pattison, secretary of Aveley Angling Club, had his volunteer-run fishing area vandalised last Thursday (May 10) and discovered the mess two days later (May 12).

Alan said he believes youths were to blame after he found swastikas, racial slurs and other derogatory language on a bridge, trees and birdbox.

A picnic table and scaffolding were also tossed into the lake, Hobbs Hole.

Romford Recorder: A table found in Hobbs Hole lakeA table found in Hobbs Hole lake (Image: Alan Pattison)

“They killed the wildlife. I would like to think it wasn’t intentional as you can’t see into the birdbox from below, but there’s a lot of anger from us at the club.

“I want to ask whoever did this – do you actually know what the words mean and the issues behind drawing a swastika? They need to be educated,” he said.

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Alan, who took over as club secretary last year, said efforts to refurbish another lake nearby had to pause to fix the damage caused at Hobbs Hole.

His club, a non-profit group, has run for 40 years with the aim to make the lake fishable.

Despite the setback, Alan praised the efforts of volunteers who sacrificed free time with their families during the weekend to lend a hand.

“Within 10 minutes of telling people about it we had a dozen people saying they would be there,” he said.

Alan, an ex-emergency care assistant, said he did not immediately contact police since emergency services are already overstretched.

He said this left small groups such as his in a bind since it is hard to maintain a volunteer presence, especially at night, to prevent future vandalism.

Alan has invested £2,000 into the project and the club has spent £6,000 collectively, £400 to £500 of which is now being spent on repairs.

The historic lake, which traces back to the Roman period, will recover but Alan said his committee of 12 could only do so much and raising awareness was key.

“I don’t know where they [the vandals] got these ideas from, maybe it was from their parents, but they need to be educated,” he said.

“If anyone is caught we will involve the police.”