Vandals tore trees in two at a Pontefract park

Vandals tore the tops off of two trees at Friarwood Valley Gardens in the third act of vandalism the park has seen in a month.

Wednesday, 10th October 2018, 10:30 am
The cherry trees at Friarwood Valley Gardens, Pontefract, were torn in two.

The two cherry trees, which were planted in the park less than two years ago, were torn in half by vandals.

It is believed that the damage occurred on the evening of Sunday, September 30.

Colin White, Chair of voluntary group Friends of Friarwood Valley Gardens, said: “We have this avenue of flowering cherry trees which is quite famous locally. They were put in during the 1950s when the park was first created but they have a limited lifespan of about 60 years and then disease and rot destroy them.

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Last month, vandals caused £700 of damage to the park stage.

“The council are having to take them out one by one and what we are trying to do is to replace the trees as they are taken out.

“We’ve no shortage of people who are willing to donate a tree. The problem is that these trees take years to establish and these trees have only been in for two years.

“They’ve had a good couple of years and they were establishing quite well. They were about 10 feet tall. It must have taken quite a lot of effort to destroy them.”

The Friends have considered a number of ways to combat the vandalism.

Rachel Riley, a member of the Friends, explained that the group are considering a number of ways to combat the string of damage.

“What we’re asking is what can we do, how can we combat this?” she said.

“We can’t just put the gates back in because we couldn’t promise to be able to lock and unlock them every day of the year.

“We think CCTV could work and we are looking at it seriously. We’re going to have to apply for a grant for solar powered CCTV, but we’ve had a local company offer to monitor the feed in their office and link it up to their wifi.”

A spokesperson for West Yorkshire Police said: “Police were called to reports of criminal damage at Mayor’s Walk in Pontefract.

“The incident happened between 30 September and 1 October.

“The suspects caused damage to some nearby trees before fleeing the scene.

“Anyone with any information about this incident is asked to contact the police via 101 quoting crime reference 13180493442.”

It is the third time vandals have targeted the Valley Gardens in a matter of weeks.

The Friends were forced to launch an emergency fundraiser last month after vandals twice damaged the park’s stage.

Repairs to the stage, which was also reinforced to protect against future damage, cost £700.