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Help hedgehogs by reporting roadkill

People are being asked to help the conservation of hedgehogs Credit: University of Reading

Ecologists are asking people in Reading to contribute to vital new research to help the conservation of hedgehogs.

Hedgehog populations in Britain are in trouble, with surveys suggesting their numbers are in steep decline. While changing agricultural practices and a badger resurgence are thought to be to blame, the researchers believe that towns and cities may provide safe havens for the iconic species.

But urban habitats provide their own risks. Now scientists need people to report sightings of dead hedgehogs beside Reading’s roads, so they can find out more about how city traffic is affecting British wildlife.

Sadly, many hedgehogs are killed by cars, leading to concerns that main roads may be combining with other obstacles such as rivers to create barriers to their movement. This may be causing a dangerous fragmentation of hedgehog populations, increasing their susceptibility to environmental changes.

If you spot a dead hedgehog anywhere in Reading, please text Dr Baker as soon as possible on 07960 212624 or email p.j.baker@reading.ac.uk. Scientists will then recover the body so they can genetically identify the locations of different family groups.

While their research may have implications for hedgehog conservation elsewhere in the UK, the research team will not investigate reports of roadkill outside the Reading urban area, so do not require reports from outside Reading.

“Hedgehogs are an iconic British species, but they face growing threats both in the town and the countryside. Towns and cities provide surprisingly good habitats for hedgehogs, but if different populations become isolated, they may face an uncertain future. Our research is focusing on Reading but our findings will help hedgehog conservation nationwide. That’s why we need people in Reading to be on the lookout for hedgehogs which have sadly been killed on the roads, and to report them to us as soon as possible. At this time of year, hedgehogs are about to start breeding and this means, unfortunately, that many are likely to be killed on roads as they seek out mates.”

– Lead researcher Dr Philip Baker

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Serious sexual assault in Reading

A man has been arrested this morning following a report of a serious sexual assault in Reading.

At around 1.10pm yesterday a woman in her thirties reported that earlier that day she had been serious sexually assaulted by a man at an address in Tilehurst Road.

Officers carrying out an investigation into the incident have this morning arrested a 49-year-old man from Reading on suspicion of sexual assault and he is currently in custody.

Anyone with any information about this incident is asked to contact Thames Valley Police on 101.

If you don't want to speak directly to the police you can contact the independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or online at www.crimestoppers-uk.org. No personal details are taken, information is not traced or recorded and you will not go to court.

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Man banned from football matches for three years

Following an investigation by Thames Valley Police, a man has been given a three year banning order from football matches.

Charlie Sumner, aged 20, of Grays Crescent, Woodley, was given a three year football banning order at Reading Magistrates’ Court.

The order prevented him from attending all football matches, as part of the Football Offences Act 1991.

Sumner entered the pitch during Reading Football Club’s FA Cup quarter final match at home to Bradford City AFC on Tuesday 17 March.

He entered the pitch, ran towards the Bradford fans, made obscene gestures and then performed a number of somersaults.

Sumner was arrested at the scene and charged the following day with going onto the playing area at a football match.

He pleaded guilty to the offence at the same court on 1 April.

“This was a high profile game which was broadcast live on the BBC. Sumner’s stupidity could have serious consequences, as he antagonised the Bradford fans by running towards them and making obscene gestures. This type of action will not be tolerated and we will do our utmost to bring those who feel they need to commit this type of offence or other football related offences to justice.”

– Investigating officer, Sgt Richard Noone of Tactical Operations and Football Intelligence

Have your say on minimising flood risk

It's the final day today for people to have their say on a package of plans designed to minimise the risk of flooding in Reading.

Areas of the Thames Valley were devastated by flooding in 2014 Credit: ITV Meridian

Eight sites across the town have been identified as at greater risk. The plan describes the work to alleviate the flooding and where it's already underway.

Plans for new tower blocks rejected

Artists impression of what the blocks would have looked like Credit: Reading Borough Council

Controversial proposals to build three new tower blocks in Reading have been rejected.

Known as Swan Heights - the development would have included 350 new flats built on the former Cooper Reading BMW site on King's Meadow Road.

Reading Borough Council receiving a number of objections and the planning application was refused at a council meeting last night.

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