Town Council officers are appealing for information or the culprits to come forward after a recently planted young tree was deliberately snapped in half by teenage vandals.
Dog groomer Karen Pole reported the incident to the council after she witnessed it while attending the Sleaford Dog Show on the recreation ground on Boston Road on Sunday June 7.
She explained: “It was just talking to someone leaving at the end of the dog show when I saw a group of four boys no older than 14. They kept bending a tree (over near the zip wire).
“I looked back and they had snapped it. Then one pulled it off completely and threw it in the bushes before starting on what was left of the tree.”
The tree was an established young sapling planted as one of three planted six months ago as replacements for others that had to be cut down.
Incensed at the vandalism, Mrs Pole marched over to the boys to confront them. She said: “The boy turned round and said, ‘I didn’t know it was going to break.’
“It was only a young one and I told him, did he realise there was CCTV in the park, I had taken a photo and would pass it on to the Town Council, but they just shrugged their shoulders.
“Hopefully he will get a telling off. They need to know the consequences of their actions.”
Mrs Pole added: “I know people are wary of youngsters these days but if someone is doing something wrong I will politely have a word with them.”
The council’s Services Superviser Graham Sleaford said people may not realise that a young sweet chestnut like that will cost around £70 to replace. It had been planted in December and now stood about 2.4m high.
He said: “It was just nicely putting some leaves and roots out and it has been ruined. It may regenerate, but only as a shrub instead of the desired effect. It is the sheer disrespect of what we are trying to achieve that annoys me.”
It was one of 15 planted on the recreation ground as part of a programme of tree replacement.
Clerk to the council Sheila Scholes said it would have to come out and be replaced but that would have to wait until November for the tree planting season, depending on whether they have the funds available.
“It is mindless,” she said. “We are going to check the CCTV and speak to Mrs Poll,” she said. “This is the consequence of that action and it will cost the tax payer £70 or more. It is just sad.”
The matter will be reported to police and anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact the council on 01529 303456.