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It's a croc of gold as tourists boost Crawley Mill reptile attraction
A CROCODILE sanctuary in West Oxfordshire hopes to snap up more tourists by opening on Saturdays.
After having to turn people away at the peak of summer, Crocodiles of the World, in Crawley Mill near Witney, has applied for planning permission to open all weekend.
Originally, it was not allowed to open to the public, but a year ago owner Shaun Foggett, right, won an amendment to let people in on Sundays, and is now pressing to extend that.
He hopes to bring in more customers and one day open a larger sanctuary to rival Cotswold Wildlife Park.
He said: “We need to be open more regularly because there is a huge demand for people to visit us.”
The sanctuary, which has 96 crocodiles, can host up to 350 people at a time.
Mr Foggett said: “The popularity has blown me away. I think it is already Witney’s biggest tourist attraction.
“We are still looking for new premises to move to where we can turn into a national tourist attraction that people come from all over the world to see.”
Mr Foggett, who has been dubbed ‘Croc Man’, added: “If we are looking for a new, much larger site we need all the financial help we can get.
“Opening Saturday will enable us to start raising funds to do that.”
He said it would also bring more people into West Oxfordshire and give the area’s tourism and businesses a boost.
Mr Foggett has applied to change a condition on the original 2010 planning permission – that the premises would only be used for the housing, welfare and breeding of the animals and for no other purpose.
Last year Mr Foggett took on two male Siamese crocodiles – of which there are about 400 in the world – and plans to breed them with the sanctuary’s two females.
He said: “I have always had a fascination with crocodiles. They are so incredibly misunderstood and so endangered. It is nice to have a dedicated place in the UK for these reptiles.”