A CHARITY has been left ‘saddened and angry’ after five trees were deliberately poisoned.
The Woodland Trust has demanded action after five mature beech trees in Laund Clough, Baxenden, died suddenly.
Site manager Colin Riley discovered the trees had been drilled at the base and a poison has been poured into these holes.
The trees are each estimated to be over sixty years old and have all been given protection by an official Tree Preservation Order.
As the trees are protected, the matter has been reported to Lancashire Police and the local Tree Preservation Officer.
The Woodland Trust is now facing hefty fees to remove the trees for the safety of visitors to the area. These costs are likely to run in excess of £2,000.
Colin Riley, site manager for the Woodland Trust, said: “During my fifteen years at the Woodland Trust, I have never seen damage on this scale. I cannot fathom why someone would willfully destroy trees in this way – especially given their age and protected status.
“Our native woods suffer enough from threats such as tree disease and a changing climate – without someone setting out to intentionally kill them. Laund Clough is enjoyed by the whole community, and I would urge anyone with information relating this incident to speak now.”
Philip Johnson, Tree and Woodlands Officer for Hyndburn Council, added: “I am extremely shocked and disappointed to see this blatant destruction of an area of the natural environment that is of great benefit to both local people and local wildlife.
“Laund Clough is an incredible natural resource on the doorstep of local people, an area of great beauty accessible to all.
“Please help the Woodland Trust and the Council in their search for the perpetrators.”
Anyone with any information should call Lancashire Police on 101.
The Woodland Trust is also currently running a campaign called V.I.Trees calling for a register for individual trees of National Special Interest, which over 12,000 people have supported.
The charity hopes that by classifying these trees it can lead to increased protection. If members of the public wish to report anything regarding this incident they should contact the Woodland Trust on 0343 770 5536.