Last week, it was Fenton the dog harassing deer in Richmond Park, London. Now the authorities are having to protect the deer from humans scavenging their food supply for conkers or to revive the Christmas tradition of chestnuts roasting on an open fire.
Notices have gone up in the Royal Parks where deer roam free warning people not to pick the chestnuts or gather up ones that have fallen on the ground, because the deer need them for food. But even as they are protecting the animals' food supply, park wardens are quietly slaughtering the animals at night to keep their numbers under control and to make money for the royal parks authority when the venison turns up on the plates of wealthy diners.
The cull of deer in three Royal Parks where they run wild – Richmond and Bushy in west London, and Greenwich to the east – happens every autumn, with as little publicity as possible because of the reaction from animal lovers.