Outrage after person paints 'free parking' Monopoly image over charging sign at Kent nature reserve

The sign displaying charges was replaced with a 'free parking' image from the board game Monopoly Credit: Kent Wildlife Trust

Thousands of pounds worth of damage has been caused at a popular nature reserve in a Monopoly-style act of vandalism.

The person responsible replaced car park signage with the ‘free parking’ image found in the classic board game.

It happened at Oare Marshes Nature Reserve in Faversham, Kent with bosses at Kent Wildlife Trust having to replace the sign.

Efforts by the individual to undermine £2.50 weekday and £3.50 weekend charges have been met with anger and an explanation as to why the parking charges are so important for the site.

The trust have come up with their own Monopoly-inspired sign to highlight why the parking charges are needed Credit: Kent Wildlife Trust

Head of Land Management, Simon Bateman-Brown said, “Every motorist who pays for parking is helping us deliver a Wilder Kent as they are directly contributing to our work. We do not make a profit from parking, but it is a valuable contribution that supports the £1.2m annual running costs of our reserves.

“In Oare, money from car-parking has helped us improve water level control, something that makes the area more resilient to climate change, creating a landscape so that migrating birds can be sustained in the long-term, whilst also providing refuge for the amphibians that live here.”

Extra CCTV will be installed by the trust and Kent Police has also been contacted.

Out of 90 sites, Oare Marshes is one of seven Kent Wildlife Trust nature reserves to charge visitors.

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Simon Bateman-Brown added, “We know many of our visitors come to fill bottles of water from the Artisan well that we maintain on the site, most people would not think twice about spending a few pounds on plastic bottled water, yet this is something on offer, free to our visitors and car-parking charges help us put resources into water quality testing so it is safe to drink.

“We appreciate that people have strong opinions on paying for parking and there is a common misconception we generate income from fines – this is incorrect, a third-party company receives this income, not the charity.

“If any motorist was duped into thinking parking was free by this vandalism and subsequently fined, please get in contact with us so we can contact the car-park management company in an effort to get the charge waived.”

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