TARGETED TREES: “Mindless thuggery” as Dismay as trees attacked
“Mindless” vandals targeted trees at a newly-planted community orchard in Solihull prompting calls for CCTV to keep watch over the parkland.
Residents and volunteers were devastated when the fruit saplings lovingly nurtured in Shirley Park were snapped at the weekend.
The wanton act of destruction took place overnight on Friday (August 6), with the first photos of the broken trees surfacing on social media the following day.
Both local councillors and the community group which helps care for the site have said they would be keen for cameras to be installed to help prevent similar criminal activity in future.
In the meantime, members of the Friends of Shirley Park quickly stepped in to fix the damage with cling film and gaffer tape, hoping this gave the trees the best chance of survival.
Helena Morrissey, who chairs the group of volunteers, said: “I am just heartbroken that someone could cause so much damage.
“I’m also very proud of the quick-thinking action of the group who have done their very best to save as many of the trees as possible.
“I sincerely hope we can get more assistance from the council to help keep our lovely park safe from this type of mindless thuggery.”
A further statement, issued on behalf of the Friends’ committee, said they were “very saddened” by the damage done.
“We would love to have CCTV covering the park to help prevent damage and violence of any form,” said a spokeswoman.
The council had last year approved a pilot project for portable devices which could be moved between different public spaces to deal with problems that arose.
Cllr Maggie Allen (Green, Shirley West) also said she would support efforts to improve surveillance and “do what we need” to prevent another attack.
“It was heartbreaking to see all that damage,” she told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS).
“Friends of Shirley Park came out and did an amazing job in helping put this orchard together and we are very lucky having them there.
“The people who are part of it are so committed and they were particularly upset about this.”
Six trees in the orchard, only planted back in February, and a more established specimen opposite were damaged.
Cllr Allen said that the council was “absolutely appalled” by what had taken place and members had been told a forestry officer had since visited the scene.
Solihull Council has been contacted for comment.
Anyone with information about the vandalism, which happened at some point on Friday night into the early hours of Saturday morning, should contact West Midlands Police on 101.
Words: David Irwin, Local Democracy Reporter
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