A Met Police investigation into alleged damage to plants and wildlife at Seething Wells waterworks has found no criminal offences were committed.

Campaigners had expressed concern earlier this month, when maintenance work carried out on the filter beds’ soil bunds cleared the interior bank of the river entirely of plants.

Police community support officer Dave Haywood Met Police said: “The safer neighbourhood team for the area attended and spoke to all parties and arranged for a stop in the works for 90 minutes to allow the council to call the appropriate people to verify the facts.”

“It was confirmed that the habitat was in fact the tunnels under the embankment and that the works being undertaken were to preserve the integrity of the embankment and therefore the habitat of the bats.

“The workman had been employed by the new landowner and developer under instruction from Thames Water, who stated that the roots of foliage were undermining the integrity of the embankment and posing a flood risk if the embankment failed.”

Simon Tyrell, of Friends of Seething Wells, said: "The community remains troubled by what it's witnessed, and concerned about the implications of what's going on. Many see the total devastation and ask, ‘how can that not be a crime, surely something can be done?’.

"We will continue to work alongside all interested parties to ensure everything possible is done from now on to protect and celebrate the site appropriately.”

A Kingston council spokesperson said: "If the maintenance carried out has had a detrimental impact on the local wildlife, then this is a matter for the police to investigate under the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981.

“We are monitoring the situation closely and have informed the police of activity taking place on site."