People seen climbing on protected monument at Orford Ness nature reserve

View of Black Beacon at Orford Ness National Nature Reserve Picture: NATIONAL TRUST/RICHARD SCOTT **

AWRE buildings on Orford Ness off the Suffolk coast - Credit: National Trust Images/Richard Scott

Police are investigating an incident of criminal damage on Orford Ness after four people were seen climbing on a protected monument at the nature reserve.

The incident happened at around 6pm on Saturday, June 12, Suffolk police said.

People were seen climbing onto Lab 4 of the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment (AWRE) facility, which is protected under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979. 

Climbing onto them causes damage to the structure, as well as the shingle banks they are situated on.

The AWRE facility on the shingle spit has been vacated after previously being used for environmental testing.

Police have said the criminal damage has caused disturbances to lesser black backed gulls that nest on the structure.

Sgt Brian Calver, from Suffolk police's Rural Crime and Wildlife Team, said: "The whole area is a site of special scientific interest and lesser black backed gulls do nest on these structures.

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"This breed of bird is a species of conservation priority, so it’s important their habitat is left undisturbed."

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