Contractors working for North Devon Council have joined the ranks of ‘hedgehog heroes’.

They are helping to save hedgehogs by placing special warning stickers on all their grass cutting machinery.

In conjunction with the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, the council has provided free stickers to be placed on all grass cutting machinery which warns contractors to check the area for wildlife before using the equipment.

Council leader, Councillor David Worden, said: "Hedgehogs are in decline in the UK, so we are delighted to partner with the British Hedgehog Preservation Society and Tivoli Group Ltd to help prevent injuries to these lovely animals by reminding our grass cutters to ensure there are none around before they start work."

Fay Vass, chief executive of the society, added: "We are pleased to welcome North Devon Council as the latest group to join our hedgehog heroes roll of honour, after fitting our warning stickers on their contractors' cutting machinery to help hedgehogs.

"Raising awareness of the problem is half the battle, long grasses and the bottom of hedges are both places hedgehogs are likely to be found, a quick check before work begins can literally save lives."

Brad Cole, Tivoli regional director said hundreds of hedgehogs are injured every year, sometimes fatally, as a result of grounds maintenance work.

He said: "Working in partnership with North Devon Council, Tivoli are proud supporters of the British Hedgehog Preservation Society, making sure all our operatives are aware of the dangers that mowers, strimmers, hedge cutters etc can pose to wildlife.

"These dangers can be avoided by carrying out a thorough visual check of the area before work commences. By attaching the BHPS stickers to our equipment and raising operator awareness, our aim is to reduce the number of hedgehog injuries and deaths caused by grounds maintenance activities."