Football star Marcus Rashford has a new goal as he leads the England charge at the Euros… protecting newts on the plot of his new pad.
The Man Utd striker has signed an agreement vowing to look after the great crested newts – paying £1,300 for a permit from Natural England.
The protected amphibians were found at a Cheshire site where Rashford, 23, is having a mansion built.
Fans of Rashford were tickled because his team the reds were originally called Newton Heath in the late 1800s.
The star – honoured for his battle to provide free meals to needy schoolkids – has also agreed to a range of measures to help other wildlife.
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They include provisions for nesting birds and roosting bats, along with gaps in garden fences “to facilitate the movement of hedgehogs”.
A source told the Sunday Mirror: “Marcus had to agree to the measures to satisfy planning permission, but he’s happy to do so.
“His licence fee will go straight into conservation and help pay for ‘compensatory habitats’ for newts to give them a sustainable future.”
Great crested newts look like mini dinosaurs and have the scientific name Triturus cristatus. They are a European Protected Species.
That means it is illegal to capture, kill, disturb or injure them, damage or destroy their resting or breeding place, or block access to their resting or sheltering places.
Possessing one is barred – and their eggs cannot be taken.
Offenders can face up to six months in prison and a £5,000 fine for each offence.
The creatures are considered internationally important, can grow up to seven inches long and have an average life expectancy of six to 15 years.
They have tiny teeth which they use to grab on to their prey – insects, cater pillars, worms, slugs, crustaceans, molluscs and tadpoles.
Around 400,000 great crested newts can be found at 18,000 breeding sites across much of England and Wales, particularly on farmland and in old quarries.
Rashford is building a five bed mansion complete with nine-hole golf course and an au-pair apartment – despite recently splitting with his childhood sweetheart Lucia Loi, also 23.
The star bought the land, previously owned by Mobberley Golf Club, in 2020. The estate, including the golf course, covers approximately 32.5 hectares.
The mansion’s features include a basement complete with a wine cellar, gym, indoor swimming pool, plant room, games room and chill-out area.
Rashford, said to be worth £16million, applied for the planning permission through his company MUCS Properties.
Permission was given in February, with conditions.
Rashford’s proposed mansion lies on Green Belt land and a planning officer’s report deemed it would be an “inappropriate development in the Green Belt and would adversely affect openness”.
However, councillors approved the scheme as the home is smaller than an alternative proposal that had already been approved after an application from a previous owner of the land.
Our source said Rashford is itching to get on with the mansion project, adding: “Marcus can’t wait to move in. Once it’s finished it’ll be his dream home.”
The striker is expected to start on the subs’ bench tomorrow afternoon when England take on Croatia at Wembley.