REFURBISHMENT works have been blamed for the deaths of a number of nesting birds in Ludlow.

A number of nests are claimed to have been destroyed by contractors who were clearing an overgrown garden as part of Connexus’s six-and-a-half-million pound renovation of 77 homes in Sandpits Avenue.

According to councillor Andy Boddington, blackbird, robin and pigeon nests were disturbed, killing fledglings in the process. It is also possible that bats were disturbed, the councillor claimed.

The police and RSPCA have investigated the issue, with Connexus launching their own enquiry into what took place.

Councillor Tracey Huffer visited Sandpits on June 11 to join in the search for surviving birds alongside the RSPCA, who attended the scene to collect evidence.

Councillor Huffer said: “There were dead chicks everywhere. It was a scene of decimation.

“Pigeons kept coming down looking for their chicks. When we spoke to a contractor he was disinterested and said ‘so what’.

“I was impressed by how the whole community came together to search for surviving birds.

Kate Smith, chief executive of Connexus, said that the company’s executive director, Sara Woodall, personally visited Sandpits alongside a number of senior managers to apologise to locals.

“The work was arranged because we had reports of rats in the garden of an unoccupied house at Sandpits Avenue, so we asked our contractor to clear and tidy the overgrown garden,” said Ms Smith.

“Following the clearance, we were made aware that there were birds’ nests in the vegetation. We’re grateful for your efforts and that of the local community for bringing this to our attention, alerting the RSPCA, and helping rescue wildlife.

“We’re conducting a thorough investigation into what happened and sincerely apologise for the upset caused.

“Please be assured that we’re taking this very seriously and have put work on hold at this property while the investigation takes place. We’ll also be working with our contractors, so they’re better able to spot potential nesting sites in the future.”

Disturbance of a bird's nest or of bats is an offence under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and is punishable by an unlimited fine or up to six months in prison.