Southend Standard

Stakeout to spot flying visitors...

WILDLIFE campaigners are staying up late to prove there are bats roosting in two derelict houses near Priory Park.

The properties are due for demolition to make way for the controverial Priory Crescent road-widening scheme.

But Green Party campaigners claim bats could be in residence in the houses.

"Bats are a protected species and it is illegal to demolish buildings if they are roosting. Even if the bats have left, there are still procedures to be followed," explains John Cranfield, a member of the Essex Amphibian and Reptile Group.

"I have my own bat detector and will be urging others to join me in a stakeout of the two properties," said John, who works on a Southend building site.

"Bats usually come out at dusk so we'll be on the lookout from about 9pm. I'm sure we'll spot them flying in and out of these two houses.

John is keen to let council officers know that any planned stake-out will be held within the restrictions of the law. He added: "We know the houses are council property and it is an offence to trespass on the land so we will be keeping to the streets."

Southend council has been made aware of the alleged sightings and a report is being prepared.

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