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Deer need to be tranquillised, say Coulsdon allotment-holders


ALLOTMENT-HOLDERS are calling for deer to be tranquillised and moved to stop them munching their crops.

Angry growers at the council-run allotments in Hartley Down, Coulsdon, say a group of seven or eight deer is destroying their fruit and veg.

They say solutions such as netting or fencing are too expensive and not completely effective, while other ideas such as companion planting have failed.

Working mother-of-three Sienna Jones tries to feed her family of five from the plot.

She said: "My strawberries, onions, beetroots, shallots, garlic – they have just flattened everything. Netting is very expensive, and I may as well just go to the supermarket.

"You cannot cull them because the bullets travel too far [a danger in an urban area]. I would rather they were tranquillised and taken to another site.

"If others came back, they could do the same next year."

The deer are thought to be comfortable in the allotments because of a high number of unused, overgrown plots whose brambles offer the animals a hiding place and access to more food.

Plot-holders said it is a long-term problem that worsened this year, when the number of deer appears to have doubled.

Retired Joan Edmonds said: "They have eaten the trees and chewed through the strawberries; it is a disaster.

"We found someone who could come and cull them, but the council said we could not do that.

"You cannot really chase them into the road because it is dangerous, and the A23 [Brighton Road] is only a hundred yards away.

"The people next to me are going to put some fencing up, but it is going to cost them up to £200."

There are also fears the deer may carry ticks that spread Lyme disease, although there has been no evidence of this in the area.

Ms Edmonds said: "Can you imagine saying to the kids, 'You can play football but you will have to keep long shirts on'?"

A Croydon Council spokesman said it was looking into clearing "large areas of brambles and small trees which may be providing a hiding place for the deer".

She added: "We aim to carry out these works within the next few months. This is a first step and we've been advising all the plot-holders.

"There is another site in the borough which also has deer and most of the plot-holders have put up fencing around their plots which, apart from keeping out the deer, also keeps out birds."

Ward councillor Chris Wright is working with the council to help solve the problem.

He said: "The council knows there is a problem with the deer, in particular in the allotments.

"We're trying to see what can be done. As we all know our money is sorely limited."

Deer need to be tranquillised, say Coulsdon allotment-holders

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