THEY’RE getting closer. Wild boar which have been foraging around the outskirts of Cinderford for the last few years are now moving to centre stage.

In the last week boar have been seen foraging in the High Street and have been digging up graves in St John’s churchyard.

A combination of rising population, winter food shortages and increasing confidence around humans is believed to be emboldening the boar towards an increasingly urban existence.

At St John’s Church, Cinderford, foraging boar have desecrated graves including those with fresh flowers laid by close family and friends.

Church warden Chris Taylor said: “It is very distressing for families but so far nothing we have done has managed to keep them out.

“We try to keep the gates closed at all times and we ask visitors to close the gates after them, but the boar always seem to manage to get in.

“We have been told there is a group of boar living in the area between the church and Valley Road.

"We have contacted the council and the Forestry Commission, but it appears they don’t want to know.

“We just don’t know what the solution is.”

The Forestry Commission have stated in the past that on private land, controlling the boar is the legal responsibility of the landowner.

Shoppers in Cinderford High Street were taken aback last Thursday by the sight of a large wild boar foraging around waste bins.

It was last seen trotting down Wesley Road where it went to ground in some thick brambly undergrowth behind the Miners’ Welfare Hall.

And last week, staff at Forest View Primary School in Cinderford had to shoo a wild boar out of the school field, when they arrived for the school’s breakfast club.

The latest statistics from the Forestry Commission show that, in spite of a culling programme, the boar population is spiralling out of control.

Cllr Tim Gwilliam has tabled a formal question to the Forest of Dean District Council’s Cabinet asking for the results of a recent meeting between the council, Defra and the Forestry Commission to discuss the boar Problem.

In response, Cllr Terry Hale, cabinet member for the community, said: “I was given a 15 minute slot under ‘Social aspects of living with feral wild boar’ to give a view from the Forest of Dean District Council on the current situation.

“I took many photographs with me of boar damage on sports fields, churchyards, play areas, road verges and the Dilke Hospital grounds as examples of the problems being caused.

“The meeting was followed by an internal Defra ‘family’ meeting to discuss possible options and the next steps going forward.

“I am still awaiting the notes of that meeting but when I receive them I will share the information with you and other members.”