A dog walker was horrified after finding vandals had stripped the bark off a number of woodland trees – the latest in a spate of damage to green spaces in Hartlepool.
Clavering resident Mitch Wilson said he felt like crying after seeing the scene of “utter devastation” in woods at the back of Tremaine Close, Hartlepool.
Vandals have systematically stripped much of the bark from around 10 trees, which will now die as a result.
There have also been a series of incidents of damage caused in Hartlepool parks in the last month.
Hartlepool Borough Council says it condemns any vandalism and asks any witnesses to report them.
Mr Wilson said of the damage to the trees: “What I saw was total and utter devastation, wherein yobs have hacked the bark from the trees and have thus, killed them.
This type of behaviour is increasing across the townDeborah Jefferson, countryside officer
“They have also set fire to a tree. The yobs are fuelled by alcohol and whatever else. I almost wept at the scene before my eyes.
“These are becoming absolutely dreadful times when we are fearful to go out.”
Deborah Jefferson, a countryside officer with the council, confirmed the damage was vandalism and described the loss of so many semi-mature trees as appalling.
She said: “This type of behaviour is increasing across the town. Recently there has been the destruction of a memorial tree we planted in the Burn Valley, and we have had incidences of damage to the sensory garden in Seaton Park and the destruction of the round house at Summerhill and theft of plants.”
The Mail reported last month how the family of keen gardener Alan West were left heartbroken when a mature silver birch planted in his memory in the Burn Valley was hacked down by yobs within three weeks.
We also told how volunteers were furious after people uprooted and stole flowers newly planted by schoolchildren, again in Burn Valley gardens.
And last week Hartlepool Police spoke to the parents of three youths after anti-social behaviour and damage in a Hartlepool park.
A council spokesman said: “We utterly condemn any vandalism and anti-social behaviour that spoils the enjoyment of the parks and countryside around Hartlepool.
“Whenever we become aware of issues we take action to try to deal with them, and we would appeal to local people to support us by acting as our eyes and ears.
“If they witness an incident occurring we would urge them to contact the police, and they can also report any concerns directly to the council.”