A Darlington woman running a hedgehog rescue shelter has a clear message for people who are too quick to tend to their gardens.

Sandra Simpson runs Hedgehog Helpers, Hedgehog Rescue Darlington has seen too many examples of well-meaning members of the public taking a strimmer to their hedges, often with disastrous consequences for wildlife.

Three days ago (September 4), two hoglets of around 3-4 weeks old were brought into Sandra’s care after their mother and two other siblings were sadly killed by a strimmer.

The two surviving hoglets were unharmed and are currently in Sandra's incubator, recovering from shock and staying warm.

Sandra wants the public to take care and look around their gardens before gardening tools are used, to avoid similar incidents occurring.

The Northern Echo: Two two surviving hoglets recover indoors to warm up. Picture: Sandra Simpson/FacebookTwo two surviving hoglets recover indoors to warm up. Picture: Sandra Simpson/Facebook (Image: Sandra Simpson/Facebook)

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Sandra said: “It does happen very often. Unfortunately, people don’t have a look around first to see if animals are nearby.

“Hedgehogs don’t run away when they hear a loud noise, so that’s why they don’t escape when they hear the noise of a strimmer. Instead, they just crouch down and try and hide.”

Having run her small operation for the past 8 years, Sandra has seen plenty of animals, not just hedgehogs, perish due to similar circumstances.

It isn’t just garden tools that kill wildlife though, other behaviours that can have terrible effects for wildlife include raking garden waste into piles.

These big warm nests provide the perfect place for a hedgehog to rest, however, sadly some people then set these piles of garden waste alight to make bonfires.

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“I find bank holidays are a time when people love to tidy up their gardens and this can be awful for wildlife.

“It is awful to see but I suppose like anything, if you see it enough, you get used to it.

“I’ve seen hoglets with their flesh ripped off their backs. There were even some feral kittens that were in a terrible state as well,” Sandra said.

As autumn draws in, people are more likely to dispose of garden waste and fallen leaves, however, these decaying leaves provide essential habitats for wildlife.

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