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Woods team to tackle ‘lawless’ motorbike yobs

Newspaper: Pontefract & Castleford Express.'Story: A memorial wood has been planted on the edge of Fryston woodland, Castleford, in memory of fallen soldiers.'Pictured: Representatives from Friends of Fryston Wood, Castleford Heritage Trust, Wakefield District Housing and Wakefield Metropolitan District Council are stood by one of the 200+ new trees.'Reporter: Nick Frame.'Photographer: Andrew Bellis'email: andrewbellisphotography@gmail.com'Twitter: @SnapperAndrewB'Mobile: 07885 426 523'Photo date: 10/11/17'Picture ref: AB257a1017
Newspaper: Pontefract & Castleford Express.'Story: A memorial wood has been planted on the edge of Fryston woodland, Castleford, in memory of fallen soldiers.'Pictured: Representatives from Friends of Fryston Wood, Castleford Heritage Trust, Wakefield District Housing and Wakefield Metropolitan District Council are stood by one of the 200+ new trees.'Reporter: Nick Frame.'Photographer: Andrew Bellis'email: andrewbellisphotography@gmail.com'Twitter: @SnapperAndrewB'Mobile: 07885 426 523'Photo date: 10/11/17'Picture ref: AB257a1017

A community group pushed to the brink after yobs ripped up more than 800 newly-planted trees say they are fighting back against the “lawless” behaviour plaguing the area.

The Friends of Fryston Wood were devastated after trees they planted in memory of fallen soldiers were trashed twice.

But having re-grouped, the Friends are busy trying to secure funding to help stamp out the anti-social behaviour.

They are applying for grant funding to install kissing gates around the woods to stop the flow of illegal motorcyclists using it as an off-road track, put up fencing and even dig trenches.

Secretary of the Friends of Fryston Woods, Steve Wright, said: “We get a lot of pit bikes and quads down there, coming through the estates and into the fields and woods.

“It’s an ongoing battle but if we can stop powered bikes accessing the woods it might stop it being used as a thoroughfare.

“We’re trying to make a difference but we know we won’t do it overnight. They’re just destroying it and it makes people’s lives a misery.”

In May last year the Friends, with the help of local schoolchildren, planted 400 saplings in memory of 400 Castleford soldiers who gave their lives during the First World War.

A month later all but three trees were uprooted.

The Friends, desperate to mark Remembrance Sunday were able to secure more saplings and planted them ahead of the day, but they were again ripped out by yobs on quad bikes.

At the time police described it as a “truly shameful incident” and eventually caught up with the culprits.

A police spokesman said: “Following extensive enquiries within the local community, the culprits were identified and an admission of guilt was made.

“These individuals were dealt with accordingly and the matter is now closed.”

But Mr Wright says the problems persist, including an incident two months ago when a large swing gate was cut down by power tools to allow access to the area off Derwent Drive.

A short time later travellers moved onto the site.

“It’s almost lawless and it’s a horrible scenario down there,” Mr Wright added.

“There are residents down there who are just too scared to say anything, it’s become that bad. But we’re not going to give in, we’re here to stay.”