CHAINSAW-wielding thugs have hacked down trees to start fires in a wood they have turned into a drinking den.
But now villagers are ready to reclaim the wood behind Crofton Community Centre, on Middle Lane.
They have been joined by the council, police and firefighters to restore the beauty spot.
Coun Maureen Cummings said: “Over the past few months we have had complaints from the fire brigade that people have been cutting down trees and then setting fire to them.
“The damage has been done but now we are working with the community to plant more trees and stop the fires.
“We want to make the area somewhere everyone can enjoy.”
The Rural neighbourhood police team (NPT) has added to woods to its patrol route.
Sgt Matt Jackson said: “When we find a den we dismantle it pretty quickly.
“The problem we have is that the wood is out of the way and somewhere where people can drink without being seen.”
He is concerned that during winter months, plastic bins could be filled with timber and then set alight.
They can burn for several hours and could pose a threat to the entire area.
The wood is owned by the Nostell Estate and lies on top of an old pit head.
In 2009 PC Eddie Davis led an operation to clear it up after similar problems were reported by the community.
He said: “Two years ago we repaired all the damage and planted 50 new trees.
“It’s disappointing to see what has been going on up there again.”
Anyone with information about the fires should contact the Rural NPT on 01924 293256.