Children trespassing on farmland and climbing on stacks of bales are endangering their lives, warns Middlesbrough farm manager Mark Saunders.
“For three weeks I have been in and out every night chasing kids away,” Mr Saunders said.
The youths, which he thinks are aged between 12 and 17, have been climbing on a stack of silage bales, pushing them off and smashing fences and setting fire to them.
“My main concern is that I will come out one morning and there will be a child under a bale,” said 53-year-old Mr Saunders, who has been farm manager at Newham Grange Leisure Farm, Coulby Newham, for 20 years. “They’re not going to walk away from that.”
Mr Saunders spoke to Craven Police on Monday (8 August) after another incident on the previous night.
“I asked them for a bit of support; I just said ‘I need a bit of a hand here’.” And he told them that a bull, as well as 14 cows with calves at foot, would soon be moving into the field.
“Next thing I know they’ve put it on their website to warn parents and then it’s gone mental.”
Papers have reported on the story, implying that the bull is being put into the field as a “deterrent” or “security guard”.
Mr Saunders is clear that the police have responded helpfully with increased patrols and he believes their communications have worked. But he thinks the papers have misconstrued the story.
With only 29 acres, Mr Saunders has to run a tight grazing rotation for the small Beef Shorthorn herd.
With the other grass fields recently baled, the herd had to move into the field where the youths have been trespassing. “I’ve got no option but to move the herd into that field,” he told Farmers Weekly.
He says he would not have made threats that Gregor the bull was dangerous because he is a show bull who had never shown any signs of aggression.
Mr Saunders said he would just ask parents to be aware what their children are doing and to make them understand the dangers of playing on a farm.