The district council has vowed to do what it can to replace trees damaged in a “senseless” act of vandalism in a public park.
Nine young trees were all but snapped off by persons unknown in Victoria Park, Ivybridge, the oldest park in South Hams District Council’s jurisdiction.
The police and town and district councillors are lining up to condemn the culprits.
SHDC chairman and Ivybridge East ward member Cllr Kathy Cuthbert said: “This is heartbreaking. I was stunned to see this devastation – it’s so senseless. With public money so thin on the ground, we were lucky to be given money to support Victoria Park. This has now been wasted.”
The trees were planted last year with money that came via the Big Green Space Challenge. This distributed cash from the Langage Landscape Fund, following development of the power station near Plympton. Ivybridge Town Council had applied to the fund to support the restoration of the historic park and to ensure its retention going forward.
SHDC said the species of tree chosen were ideal for the parkland, which is within the Ivybridge Conservation Area. Selected to offer interest at any time of year, they were expensive and difficult to source.
SHDC said that, although the Big Green funding has almost gone, it will use what it can to replace some of the trees.
Working with the town council, SHDC also said it was trying to save what it could, cutting the trees where they had been snapped and providing them with every opportunity to recover.
Some of the species, such as the beech and pine, are more likely to regrow than the others.
Where SHDC does replace the trees, robust caging will be used to protect them while they become established.
The district council said that although this does not look very attractive, it would appear to be necessary to prevent further damage.
Police are still looking for information on the perpetrators of the vandalism and the district council is also encouraging any similar crimes to be reported as a deterrent.