A WILDLIFE Trust has urged residents to take care when returning to its reserves - including Dearne Valley Country Park - following a surge in littering and vandalism between lockdowns last year.

Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, that manage Dearne Valley Country Park, have urged residents to take care at the reserve as restrictions begin to lift from March 29.

The trust is concerned about a repeat of the behaviour witnessed at many of their reserves when lockdown lifted last summer.

Staff at the trust have said a surge in people heading back outdoors last year resulted in a huge increase in littering, vandalism, fires, illegal parking and injury to wildlife.

This year, the trust has staff and volunteers back on many reserves and hopes that this will go some way to preventing the levels of damage seen last year.

Rachel Bice, chief executive at Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, said: “Fortunately, most people who visit our nature reserves do so responsibly and with great care.

“They understand that they are protected places primarily for wildlife and enjoy them as such.

“Yorkshire is all of ours to both enjoy and protect, and we need to keep it beautiful and safe not just for wildlife, but for us as well.

“Nature has been there for us over the last year when we’ve needed it most and now it needs our help otherwise, what great outdoors will we have left to enjoy?”

**Photo credit: Google Maps