Earby woodland destruction is branded ‘appalling’

Anne's Wood in Earby, where trees were chopped down to create a den  (s)
Anne's Wood in Earby, where trees were chopped down to create a den (s)

Councillors in Earby say they are “appalled” after trees planted in the millennium in memory of a nurse were chopped down to create a den.

Anne’s Wood, off School Lane, was planted in 2000 with more than 1,000 native trees under the Woodland Trust’s “Woods on Your Doorstep” project and was named after Anne Duffield, who died of cancer.

Anne's Wood in Earby, where trees were chopped down to create a den  (s)

Anne's Wood in Earby, where trees were chopped down to create a den (s)

As well as a number of trees being felled to create a structure containing wood, metal and glass, councillors have reported to the police instances where motorbikes are being ridden around the woods.

The issue was discussed at Earby Town Council’s meeting this week. Coun. Doris Haigh said: “The trees were planted as saplings in memory of Anne and it was her husband Alan’s idea. They both lived in Earby.

“Quite a lot of people, including myself, helped plant those trees and there is a lot of ill feeling as to what is happening in the woods now.

“One of the problems at the moment is the school holidays. I think those who have desecrated the trees should be made to put it right again and I would like to see parents support that.”

Coun. Vera Cocker added: “Chris has been down to see if any damage had been done, because we have had many reports of the off road bike, electric scooter and other bikes being ridden round the wood. He was so dreadfully upset to find it in the state it is, it’s just unbelievable.

“The police have been involved, but seem not to be able to do anything. We know, and they know who the main culprits are. I personally see it as criminal damage when they start cutting trees down like they have. They evidently admit to taking wood and other bits off the adjacent School Lane allotment site. I call that trespass and theft.

“Chris is dreading Mr Duffield finding out because the wood was planted and named in his late wife’s name. It’s just so sad. The whole council is appalled.”

PCSO Mark Hyde said the police are working with the youths concerned for a long term solution rather than a quick fix.

He said: “Unfortunately, there have been some trees cut down but it isn’t a case of criminal damage and there is no investigation taking place. I think it is the disrespect which has cause the level of upset.

“We patrol the area regularly and we are trying to work with the kids rather than harass them all the time. A youth group has been set up with Coun. Cocker and Coun. Jess Lomas to look at what can be done to work with them and the next meeting is on Monday, September 5th.

“What we do have is big problem with bikes being ridden around which are not just a danger to members of the public but the riders themselves. That is our number one priority in Earby and I would urge anybody who sees one to get a photo or take a registration number and report it on 101.”