Remembering when terror terrapins destroyed local wildlife as they were dumped in North Lincolnshire rivers
Nostalgia looks back on the stories making the headlines in January 1998
Terror terrapins which had been dumped in local rivers and streams and were destroying the natural wildlife were among the headlines in the Scunthorpe Telegraph 20 years ago this month.
People who bought the reptiles during the Ninja Turtle craze had been turfing the « water tortoises » out and dumping them in North Lincolnshire rivers, streams and lakes.
Scunthorpe RSPCA branch administrator Sandra Chapman said in January 1998: « When the Ninja Turtle craze was at its height, people were going out and buying terrapins for their children.
« They seemed to be great as they were small and could be kept in an tank but what they didn’t realise was they would grow and grown into quite big terrapins.
« The majority of people were dumping them and people going fishing were finding them in the rivers, streams and lakes.
« They are causing havoc to our own natural wildlife which is the reason why people cannot release them into the wild.
« There are areas locally where their numbers are increasing.
« They have been released, they have adapted to their new environment and I do believe they are breeding.
« They are meat eaters and if handled can give a nasty bite and could even bite a child’s finger off. »
Miss Chapman said terrapins were the worst kind of animal taken to the Frances Street centre when it came to re-homing, due to being wild animals rather than pets.
The Environment Agency’s Phil Smith said any alien species, animals or plant, could cause havoc to natural habitats as they had no natural predators and could be very invasive and destructive.
He urged anyone not to dump anything in watercourses as it can have disastrous effects.
Also in January 1998, the then-co-owner of one of Britain’s top restaurants, Winteringham Fields, said receiving an MBE from the Queen was one of the highlights of her life.
Annie Schwab, running the award-winning eatery with husband Germain, said she was thrilled to gain the medal for services to tourism.
« I’m absolutely delighted – you don’t realise anyone is watching what you are doing, » Annie told the Telegraph in January 1998.
Winteringham Fields had won a galaxy of awards including first place in the Hotel and Restaurant category of the 1997 Switch Independent Retailer Excellence Awards.
However, Annie’s MBE in the New Year’s Honours List was not only in recognition of the restaurant.
She sat on the executive committee of the Restaurants Association, the committee of Euro Toques, which protects local producers, and was a member of the Guild of Food Writers.
Annie, who also judged cookery competitions up and down the country, said: « The first time I saw the television it was the coronation of the Queen – to meet her will be one of the highlights of my life.’ »
Also, a new office manager who had 22 years service as a soldier under his belt, took over the reins at Scunthorpe’s army recruitment office.
Sgt Major John Guy as was drafted in to help the team of recruiters dispel myths and promote the armed forces to local young people.
He said: « Whatever you can do in Civvie Street we can almost match in the army, such as painters, fitters, clerical workers, nurses, engineers and radio technicians. »
And a North Lincolnshire hotel joined the growing number of venues catering for civil weddings.
Five of the function rooms at Briggate Lodge, Broughton (now Forest Pines), were sanctioned to host civil weddings overseen by the registrar Kay Lazenby.
Wedding co-ordinator Valerie Tall said in January 1998: « In the past we have had a lot of requests for weddings at Briggate Lodge because it is a well-known and popular venue.
« The first wedding there will be on April 30 and there have been many enquiries from other brides-to-be. »
Civil weddings were becoming more and more popular and Briggate Lodge was the latest in a line of Scunthorpe area hotels to register so they could host the ceremonies.
© Local World