AN ANIMAL rescue charity faces closure after being told by a children's charity it is trespassing on the land it has occupied for the last 15 years.

The Cotswold Animal and Wild Bird Rescue, based on Beeches Road, Cirencester, has been contacted by the Cirencester Opportunity Group (COG) which owns the land and has given the rescue centre until May to find a new home.

COG, an independent charity working with pre-school children with special needs and disabilities, needs the land back to expand its premises.

Philip Beckerlegge, of Speechly Bircham which represents COG, contacted the sanctuary before Christmas.

He wrote: "Your charity went into occupation of a portion of the Cirencester Opportunity Group land without consent of the trustees and have remained on the land since that either as tenants at will or as trespassers."

Paul Richardson, manager of the sanctuary, said: "It is sickening. We will be having a trustees meeting in March to make the decision. We don't really know if there's anything we can do."

The Cirencester Opportunity Group believes it has given the sanctuary enough time to find an alternative premises.

A spokesman said: "For some time the Swan Sanctuary has occupied an area of land belonging to Cirencester Opportunity Group.

"Due to the expansion and growth of COG, and for the benefit of all our children, COG needs to use the land presently used by the Swan Sanctuary.

"We have been in communication with the trustees of the Swan Sanctuary for a period of time and have tried to reach an amicable solution."

Mr Richardson added the charity desperately needs to find homes for the birds currently being looked after including bantams, hens, two small turkeys and two geese.

Anyone who can help rehouse any of the animals can contact the sanctuary on 01285 658923.