TREES dedicated by families to remember loved ones are among those destroyed by mindless vandals just days after they were planted.
The Friends of Seaton Park group held a community tree planting event last Sunday as part of their efforts to spruce-up the park and attract more people.
Around 30 young alder and willow trees were planted and a number of families paid to have a tree put in in memory of one of their loved ones.
But the group was devastated after more than half the trees were damaged by yobs.
Group chairman James Coils said: “I got a phone call after somebody noticed it didn’t look right. I went over to have a look and the majority of the trees have been snapped in half.
“They went in on Sunday when we had a great deal of support. To find this wanton act of vandalism is horrible.
“Some of these belonged to people who have paid money to remember loved ones which just makes it even worse.”
It is believed the vandalism took place overnight on Wednesday.
Eighteen of the trees, more than half, were targeted.
Hartlepool’s Wild Green Spaces team is working with the friends group to try to save as many as possible, but some will have to be replaced.
James said: “The willows are quite hardy so hopefully they should recover, but the alder are unlikely to.
“For anybody who is upset at losing their tree, an identical one will go in.”
The friends group is to ask the local police to step up patrols around the park.
The trees are intended to create an attractive new copse near to the park’s sensory garden.
Sunday’s successful event, which raised money for the work of the group, was covered by the Mail.