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Athletics coach wishes rabbits would hop it

A TOP Solihull athletics coach says he is “sick and tired” of a mucky problem affecting his club’s track.

A TOP Solihull athletics coach says he is “sick and tired” of a mucky problem affecting his club’s track.

Over the past two months Mike Dolby said hundreds of rabbits have taken over Solihull and Small Heath Athletic Club – and are leaving a little something behind.

As well as being a hygiene and unsightly problem, Mike says the rabbit droppings are also causing runners to slip on the track.

The nuisance rabbits have also been nibbling at the banks on the jumping pits and leaving holes dotted around the stadium. But Mike says Solihull Council and Parkwood Leisure – who run the site alongside Tudor Grange Leisure Centre – are blaming each other for the problem: “I first noticed a few droppings a couple of months ago, but now they are all over the place,” said Mike, who has coached at the club since 1982.

“It is dangerous for the athletes, especially during the winter when fewer of them wear spikes.”

Mike, a high jump coach, is part of a team of volunteers who help run the athletics club. He has trained many international high jumpers, including current Olympic hopeful Tom Parsons, who is from Solihull. Mike believes that a simple solution to the problem would be fixing a wire mesh to the bottom of the fence to stop the rabbits coming in from the park.

“I feel we deserve better than this – it’s disheartening,” added Mike. “We just want it cleared up, I’m sick and tired of constantly asking.”

Solihull Council’s head of leisure services said that although they had been made aware of the problem, Parkwood were responsible for the general upkeep of the site.

Andy Corcorn, Parkwood’s Operations Director, said that the company had the matter “in hand.”

He said: “We are liaising with the council and trying to resolve the issue, but because we don’t actually own the land, we have to get prior approval to make changes. It seems that the rabbits are coming from Tudor Grange Park. So we have met the council and have raised ideas to try and find out what we can and can’t do to stop them.”

 

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