Trail of destruction leaves farmer fuming

PUBLISHED: 14:23 09 November 2006 | UPDATED: 09:59 31 May 2010

Mike Butler with his burnt out mechanical loader - Pic: Sarah Lucy Brown

Mike Butler with his burnt out mechanical loader - Pic: Sarah Lucy Brown

VANDALS cast a shadow over a Scouts bonfire party in Duxford on Saturday evening when they wrecked a farmer s vehicle. Mike Butler, of Maarnford Farm in Hunts Road, Duxford, has held the Whittlesford and Duxford Scout Group s annual celebrations on his la

VANDALS cast a shadow over a Scouts bonfire party in Duxford on Saturday evening when they wrecked a farmer's vehicle.

Mike Butler, of Maarnford Farm in Hunts Road, Duxford, has held the Whittlesford and Duxford Scout Group's annual celebrations on his land for more than 30 years.

But he has been left sickened by the vandalism which has seen

£3000 worth of damage caused toa mechanical loader used to build the bonfire.

A stunned Mr Butler said: "They have smashed just about every bit of glass, the lights and burned the seats in what was the most useful tool I had on the farm.

"I feel absolutely sick about it and, even if it's worth getting repaired, it will cost far more than I paid for it.

"Not content with destroying my vehicle, they even set fire to a heap of fencing and signs which the Scouts had put there and were planning to collect on the Sunday."

The party on Saturday evening was held on land in Hinxton Road which the farmer is half-owner of, and the burned out machinery was discovered by Group Scout Leader, Malcolm Pye the following morning.

He said: "I was the first one down there at about 9am on Sunday and I was getting ready to start clearing up the site, when I noticed the loader was in a different place to where we'd left it.

"I felt absolutely awful when I saw the damage that had been done to it - a door was missing, there was glass everywhere and a fire had obviously been lit inside the cab.

"It must have happened after 10.30pm as it was intact when we left the site for the evening.

"It made me feel sick to the stomach and it completely destroyed the buoyant feeling I had after such a successful bonfire party.

"Although the Sunday after the party is always hard work, I always feel elated, but sadly this terrible act of vandalism has really deflated me."

He added: "We definitely don't believe any of the Scouts were involved, as they are only youngsters and the incident must have happened quite late."

Group executive committee member and assistant cub leader, Paula Renouf, said she was devastated for Mr Butler.

"Everyone who worked hard alongside Mike to make the party a success is so sorry for him as he's such a lovely bloke," she said.

"It's such a shame that something so mindless has overshadowed what was a truly great night for the scout group."

More than 1000 people attended the bonfire party and £1800 was raised which will go towards extending the scout hut on the Duxford allotments.

A Cambridgeshire Police spokesman said: "We would like to hear from anyone who may have seen the incident and has any information which may lead to the culprits being caught."

If you can help the police, call them on 08454 564564.

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