Red-faced police called off their hunt for car-wrecking vandals after tracking down the real culprits – a pack of hungry SQUIRRELS.
A man-hunt was launched after seven cars had their ABS brake cables cut or damaged and several homes had their phone cables severed.
Officers issued a public appeal on October 1 and made house-to-house enquiries urging residents to report anyone seen ”acting suspiciously” in a bid to capture the sabotuers.
But they were forced to abandon the operation after ‘fur-ensic’ tests revealed the culprits were in fact – mischievous squirrels.
Police today admitted the crime was more ”whodun-nut” than a ”whodunit”. yesterday.
A force spokesman said: ”It is now apparent that the damage to the ABS cables and the domestic telephone wires was caused by squirrels and not as the result of deliberate criminal damage.
”High visibility police patrols were carried out, and many local residents spoken to, and those residents have confirmed a recent increase in squirrel activity in those areas.”
Officers were also forced to urge angry car drivers not to take matters into their own hands against the ravenous rodents.
Insp Pete Chamberlain, from Swindon Police, said: ”We are looking to work with Swindon Borough Council’s Pest Control officers to try and deal with this issue.
”It is not only ABS cables that the Rodents have attacked but several telephone wires in the area so people’s lives have been affected in many ways.”
A spokesman for the RSPCA added: ”Squirrels do have a tendency to chew through wires of all sorts.
”It is important however that members of the public do not try to catch the squirrels and take the law into their own hands.
”Squirrels may well bite if cornered which may result in a hospital visit or at least a tetanus jab.”