POLICE have allayed concerns that Gloucester's cherished roundabout rabbits may have been hunted.
After concerns were expressed about declining numbers of the Barnwood bunnies on the Wall's roundabout, Gloucestershire Constabulary sent an officer to check for evidence of poaching.
While hunting rabbits isn't illegal, taking them from land without the owners' permission is not allowed. But all the officer found was evidence that there are still rabbits in the centre of the major Gloucester junction.
Gloucestershire naturalist Frank Tunbridge voiced concerns the bunnies, which have been there since at least 2004, were being hunted.
"I have been up there and almost all the holes are covered in leaves," he said. "There is one active burrow. I saw one rabbit. Even at this time of year there should be more than that. There are no footprints in the snow, except fox prints.
"Why are they disappearing? I still think they are being hunted."
The Barnwood Bunnies hold a special place in the hearts of many.
There is a Facebook site devoted to them and a Twitter account called @barnwoodbunnies.
Earlier this month fans of the rabbits wrote: "Only getting reports of small numbers of bunnies at the moment. "But it only takes a couple of bunnies to make many bunnies!"
A police spokesman sought to allay Mr Tunbridge's fears. "We didn't find evidence of any poaching but we did see some rabbits," he said.
Wicker bunnies adorning the roundabout have been taken down temporarily and put in to storage by Gloucester City Council.