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Donkin's World: The Great Pond Food Mystery

Richard Donkin has a shrewd idea of the identity of the thief stealing things from his garden.

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I was working late last night when eldest son John came out of his bedroom around 1 am to tell me there was a kerfuffle going on in the garden. I went to the window and sure enough there was quite a lot of bashing around in the shrubbery.

Suppose it was an intruder? Hardly. Intruders are thin on the ground in our neighbourhood. Besides, it was making so much noise, not the movements of a stealthy cat burglar.

"Could it be a deer?" said John. We do get deer on the estate but they can't get in to the back gardens. This was something else and I had my suspicions.

A week earlier we had come back from a holiday to find that the pond sticks had gone missing. They were in a large, re-enforced plastic bag, expensive stuff at nearly 20 a pop. I had bought the bag of fish food to replace an earlier bag that had gone missing.

The second bag of fish sticks, like the first had been left out by a step round the back of the house. I scoured some nearby woodland close to the spot where I think our local fox has its lair but didn't find any evidence such as shredded plastic.

Anyway the fish were getting twitchy and more than a little hungry so at the weekend I went down to the local garden centre and bought some more food, this time in a large white plastic tub with a handle. The tub is about 8 ins deep and the lid measures about 1 ft in diameter.

This morning I went to examine the scene of the tussle in the shrubbery and there in a corner of the garden behind a conifer shrub,was the white tub, missing its handle that had been gnawed through on both sides. A hole the size of a fox's incisor was pierced in the plastic lip of the tub. The thief had been trying to pull the tub over a six foot fence.

I'm convinced now I have enough circumstantial evidence to point to a fox as the perpetrator of these thefts. Now all I need to do is find where it keeps its pond.

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