Lancing scout hut ‘like a battlefield’ after devastating badger invasion
Lancing Sea Scouts risk losing their 100-year-old scout hut after a hoard of four-legged vandals left the site ‘looking like a battlefield’.
With the Manor Road hut largely out of action during lockdown, a gang of burrowing badgers have moved in and dug sets beneath the foundations.
Assistant scout leader Tom Smith said the amount of earth they had managed to move was ‘incredible’.
“You’ve got to take your hat off to them really,” he said.
“We’ve always had the odd badger over the years, but never like we have got now – they’re absolutely destroying things.
“It can only be likened to a scene from a battlefield.”
The badgers have dug their way under three sides of the hall and the adjacent workshops, piling tonnes of earth several feet high.
The mounds now block fire escapes and doors and have weakened the foundations of the building.
An enormous crack in the concrete floor of the workshop is thought to have be due to the set underneath and the main porch has started to bow.
“There is now great concern that Brock’s [a fictional badger created by Beatrix Potter] industrious activities could lead to the end of the Scout HQ which will not be covered by insurance, as it disappears into a hole,” Tom added.
Badgers and their sets are protected, so the sea scouts are relying on official bodies like Rural England and the Badger Trust to step in.
But that could take several more months.
In the meantime, the scouting team have been trying to make the hut safe for the hundreds of children to return, repairing damage from both the badgers and general wear and tear.
Major damp has left the wood rotting and electrics unsafe, alongside the bowing porch, cracked foundations and severely overgrown ivy.
A fundraiser set up by Victoria McLafferty has raised more than £1,000, but repairing the electrics alone will cost £5,000.
Gifted to the scouts in the 1920s, the hut was built during the First World War and Victoria said it was very much showing its age.
The scouts are bidding for grants to secure the long-term future of the hut, she said, but the fundraiser would allow short-term work to make it safe for use.
An alternative solution could be to build a new hut at the bottom of the grounds, at a potential cost of £600,000, and leave the old plot for the badgers.
You can donate to the fundraiser here
And keep up to date with the work here