Furry vandal drives police nuts

Oberon Way is one of the roads where squirrels have been chewing through brake cables

Oberon Way is one of the roads where squirrels have been chewing through brake cables

First published in News Swindon Advertiser: Photograph of the Author by , @SwindonAdver007

POLICE officers in Swindon believe they have solved a mystery which has been driving residents in the town nutty for more than a month.

After a number of residents reported that their ABS brake cables had been cut in North Swindon, officers increased patrols, issued warning letters to members of the public and even carried out forensic examinations to find the culprit.

But it was not until an eagle-eyed, off-duty police officer noticed tiny teeth marks on his ABS cables that officers began to realise that the guilty party was not a sinister human being, but in fact, a four-legged, bushy-tailed squirrel.

Inspector Pete Chamberlain, who has been leading the investigation, said he has become the butt of all jokes in the office this week after revealing the bizarre end to the tale.

“I have never heard of anything like this in 20 years of police service,” he said.

“I was quite pleased to find out that it is not some sinister human being.

“I needed to be sure before I announced it to members of the public because I didn’t want to end up with egg on my face but the jokes are all starting to come my way now, I’ve had people hopping around me, saying ‘nuts to you’.

“It has certainly brought some joviality to morning meetings that’s for sure.”

In total, seven separate reports of vehicles having their cables cut were received between September 13 and September 30, in Oberon Way, Henman Close, Ray Close, Lyme Way and Bowles Road. After teeth marks were discovered, Insp Chamberlain began to carry out his own research into the incidents.

“The scenes of crime department investigated and found the teeth marks belonged to rodents,” he said.

“I then did my own investigation on the internet into the activities of squirrels to find that they do in fact chew through cables and the attraction apparently is that the rubber is made of some kind of soya.

“Nobody has seen them in action but there are a lot of squirrels in that area and the message to the public is don’t go trying to catch them yourself because you could be committing an offence and they could bite.”

Irzana Golding, who lives on Oberon Way, Abbey Meads, said her two cars had been attacked three times.

She said: “At the beginning of September I had to take one in to get it fixed.

“While that car was being fixed our other car had its cable cut. When our first car was returned within two days it had been broken again.

“The cables are really concealed so they are hard to get to.”

The damage to the cars has cost the family £500 and Mrs Golding thought it could have been foxes.

She added: “When it happened the second time my husband looked into it online.

“It said on there that foxes like the brake fluid and they cut it open, we do get lots of foxes around here. It could be squirrels, we did think it could be some sort of animal.”

Mrs Golding has since put up a camera to see if it reveals anything.

“Everyone’s been a bit worried. If it is a person it is a bit concerning. We have put a camera up, but we haven’t seen anything.”

A spokesman for the RSPCA said: “Squirrels do have a tendency to chew through wires of all sorts.

“It is important however that members of the public do not try to catch the squirrels and take the law into their own hands. Squirrels may well bite if cornered which may result in a hospital visit or at least a tetanus jab.”

Comments (8)

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10:01am Sat 16 Oct 10

Dorcandave says...

I think further investigation is required. Can we be sure this isn't a sinister human being who has trained squirrels to do this for him?
I think further investigation is required. Can we be sure this isn't a sinister human being who has trained squirrels to do this for him? Dorcandave
  • Score: 0

10:58am Sat 16 Oct 10

catman says...

its quite possible! swindon...the first place where we have squirrels with asbo's
its quite possible! swindon...the first place where we have squirrels with asbo's catman
  • Score: 0

12:52pm Sat 16 Oct 10

TinkeyWinkey says...

Go to Town Gardens, the squirrels chase you up there :o). Evil little blighters.
Go to Town Gardens, the squirrels chase you up there :o). Evil little blighters. TinkeyWinkey
  • Score: 0

1:20pm Sat 16 Oct 10

moonraker says...

Having done a google search I found the following
http://en.wikipedia.
org/wiki/European_Pi
ne_Marten

Martens have been known to chew rubber and soft plastic parts (windshield wiper, garden hoses, e.g.) often those of parked cars, ostensibly to sharpen/clean their teeth, though the exact drive for this behavior is not known, and they do not actually ingest the rubber; damage to brake cables is a particular hazard. In rural areas it is not uncommon for wire fencing (chicken wire) to be placed on the ground under parked cars (Martens avoid stepping on it) or dog musk or other natural repellents to be sprayed under cars."



Perhaps the squirrels are being wrongly blamed.
Having done a google search I found the following http://en.wikipedia. org/wiki/European_Pi ne_Marten Martens have been known to chew rubber and soft plastic parts (windshield wiper, garden hoses, e.g.) often those of parked cars, ostensibly to sharpen/clean their teeth, though the exact drive for this behavior is not known, and they do not actually ingest the rubber; damage to brake cables is a particular hazard. In rural areas it is not uncommon for wire fencing (chicken wire) to be placed on the ground under parked cars (Martens avoid stepping on it) or dog musk or other natural repellents to be sprayed under cars." Perhaps the squirrels are being wrongly blamed. moonraker
  • Score: 0

9:44pm Sat 16 Oct 10

Never mind says...

I suppose they'll get the detection officers driving round squirrels to see how crimes they can clear up, except they won't have buy them kfc, starbucks or baccy. Yes taxpayers that is true!!!
I suppose they'll get the detection officers driving round squirrels to see how crimes they can clear up, except they won't have buy them kfc, starbucks or baccy. Yes taxpayers that is true!!! Never mind
  • Score: 0

2:48pm Sun 17 Oct 10

Poosinboots says...

http://www.youtube.c
om/watch?v=MF88IYF2M
HY&feature=related
http://www.youtube.c om/watch?v=MF88IYF2M HY&feature=related Poosinboots
  • Score: 0

9:39pm Sun 17 Oct 10

2's company says...

Poosinboots wrote:
http://www.youtube.c

om/watch?v=MF88IYF2M

HY&feature=relat
ed
Scary, aggressive and demonically possessed.
[quote][p][bold]Poosinboots[/bold] wrote: http://www.youtube.c om/watch?v=MF88IYF2M HY&feature=relat ed[/p][/quote]Scary, aggressive and demonically possessed. 2's company
  • Score: 0

11:27pm Mon 18 Oct 10

Kat Slater says...

c that cat its flaming demented on that clip ive never seen neefin like it,in all my dayz.dangrus!!!!!
c that cat its flaming demented on that clip ive never seen neefin like it,in all my dayz.dangrus!!!!! Kat Slater
  • Score: 0

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