30 October 2009
Security guards armed with torches and chicken wire are keeping 24-hour watch to stop hedgehogs hiding in a bonfire at one of the country's largest fireworks displays.
The initiative at the Three Counties Showground in Malvern, Worcestershire, is part of a campaign to raise awareness of the danger bonfires pose to hedgehogs.
The British Hedgehog Preservation Society (BHPS) has teamed up with cleaning company Spontex, whose mascot is Ernie Hedgehog, to promote the campaign.
Clifford Soper, from Spontex, is one of the guards hired to keep watch.
"A bonfire looks like a five-star hotel to a hedgehog searching for the perfect place to hibernate," he said.
"Most people don't think about checking a bonfire, or better still rebuilding it, before lighting which can result in the death of all sorts of unsuspecting wildlife asleep inside.
"The Three Counties bonfire has followed BHPS advice and encircled its bonfire with one-metre high chicken wire."
The Halloween bonfire and fireworks display will take place at the showground on Saturday night.
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