Lasting damage might have been caused to the ancient woodland used as a venue for an illegal rave over the weekend.
The mess left behind at Twyford Wood, off the A1 towards Corby Glen, includes drug needles and as such will take weeks to clean up, at a cost of thousands of pounds, says landowner the Forestry Commission.
Not only that, damage caused by revellers, some of whom clashed with police officers and left several with injuries, will need to be repaired.
However, the extent of the damage is not yet known.
Forestry Commission spokesman Laura Freer said: “The damage and mess this unauthorised event caused is massive, and is going to take weeks and cost thousands of pounds to clear up; taxpayers’ money which would be better used to manage and improve local forests for everyone’s enjoyment.
“As there is a lot of hazardous waste (broken glass, drug paraphernalia, etc), we are employing specialist contractors to clear the two main areas where the majority of the waste is situated. There are teams currently on site quoting for this work which we hope to be undertaken as soon as possible. In the meantime the woodland will remain officially closed.”
Measures were taken to prevent illegal access following a rave back in 2012. However, this did nothing to deter revellers at the weekend.
Ms Freer explained: “In this case the perpetrators were very determined and cut down a heavy steel barrier intended to prevent vehicles getting in.
“It is clear that this unauthorised event frightened both farm animals and wildlife, and it is possible that some of the areas of historical significance on the site may have been damaged. However, at this stage it is too early for us to be able to fully assess to what extent.”
Twyford Wood was once RAF North Witham and was used as a Second World War airfield. Several military artefacts remain, such as runways, and it is these which the Forestry Commission fears may have been damaged.
Nowadays, the area is visited by families and dog-walkers. It is also home to a regionally important colony of dingy and grizzled skipper butterflies.