Vandals destroy Retford nature reserve trees worth thousands of pounds

Erin McDaid of Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust says the cost of the vandalism could run into thousands of pounds.
Erin McDaid of Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust says the cost of the vandalism could run into thousands of pounds.

Staff and volunteers at a Retford nature reserve have been left angry by two incidents of vandalism which destroyed 22 specially planted trees.

Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust planted the cricket bat willows as a landscape feature along a driveway at the Idle Valley Nature Reserve, off North Road.

So-called because they produce timber for high quality cricket bats, the trees were intended as a long term investment for the charity, which has previously sold wood to bat manufacturers.

Trust spokesman Erin McDaid said: “The vandalism we’ve seen in recent weeks means that around £400 worth of trees have been ruined and with the time and effort taken in planting them and specialist pruning we estimate that the cost of the damage is at least £1,000.

“We’re determined to replant the trees at some stage but it would probably have to wait until next year now, meaning we’ll have lost two years of growth and may now lose the opportunity of future income running into thousands of pounds.”

The vandalism has been reported to the police and anyone with any information about who might be responsible should call 101, quoting crime reference number 18000029234.

The latest incident took place just last week.

To make an anonymous report, call the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

In total, 40 willows were planted as part of the scheme with the support of PPHE Hotel Group, as part of their month-long responsible business action initiative last year.

The company also contributed towards the renewal of native trees elsewhere on the nature reserve, and staff personally assisted the planting as part of a habitat restoration programme.

Erin said: “We were very excited to plant the cricket bat willows last April and this was only possible thanks to our partnership with Park Plaza Hotels & Resorts and Oaks Restaurant in Nottingham.

“Their support enabled us to create a great new feature and an opportunity to generate income from the sale of timber in the future.

“While we don’t yet know if we will be able to replace the trees, anyone wishing to make a donation towards our work at Idle Valley can do so at www.justgiving.com/nwt, or by texting NWTR01 £10 to 70070.”

For more details, see www.nottinghamshirewildlife.org.