YOBS have been slammed for torching a £14,000 birdwatchers’ hide at a popular nature res-erve.

Bosses at Brockholes. in Samlesbury, said the damage was the latest in a series of ‘heartbreaking’ incidents at the site in the past year after it opened following a £9.5m development.

Firefighters tackled the blaze, at the Peninsular Hide, in Brockholes Nature Reserve, in the early hours of Sunday, but they could not save the building.

Staff at the Lancashire Wildlife Trust res-erve were today assessing the damage. Only the metal frame is still standing.

General manager Kath Knight said: “It’s very disappointing that this is the way that some members of the local community abuse the site, and they are spoil-ing it for themselves, as well as their friends and family.

“These people are selfish.

“This is a hide for all of the local community, as well as the thousands of visitors we get from further afield.

“Not only is the hide a facility for birdwatchers, it serves as a place where people can rest if they are walking, or cycling, and is a shelter in the wet weather.

“The numbers of visit-ors are growing all the time, and this is a great loss to the reserve.”

Kath said that all the hides at Brockholes have been subject to attacks, including fires, broken windows, graff-iti, and other anti-social behaviour. She said: “As a nature conservation charity, we cannot aff-ord this kind of attack.

“These hides have been funded by individuals wanting to do their bit for wildlife.

“Now we have to go to them and explain that the hide has been destroyed.”

Police have increased their patrols at Brockholes recently, and staff are asking volunteers and members of the public to be vigilant, and to report any anti-social behaviour to the police.