WHY would anyone choose to do this?
What possible reason could anyone have to do this? is the question being asked by Rotary members across Middlesbrough .
Over the past two years its members have used personal donations and grants with support from Middlesbrough College, PD Ports and its pilots to plant a mile and a half of trees alongside the three National Trails running across the town’s industrial past alongside the river Tees – Now in a violent and sustained episode of pointless vandalism over twenty five healthy saplings have been decapitated with a bladed tool.
‘Tees Trees’ were originally intended to mark one hundred years of giving to their local communities as the town’s original rotary club reached its Centenary. The Mayor, Council and local schools and colleges enthusiastically supported the initiative , thousands of bulbs were planted and last month the inaugural Tees Heritage Walk was staged alongside the newly planted trees . Sadly over the past few days someone has quite deliberately destroyed many of the most recently planted specimens. President of Middlesbrough Erimus and former Tees Bay Pilot Geoff Taylor expressed the shock and anguish of his colleagues – “We are on the way to transforming this riverside stretch into something the people of Middlesbrough can enjoy. Our aspiration is to create a place of peace and tranquility , where once blast furnaces and steelworkers laboured mightily, we have developed the capacity to build something entirely different for our tomorrows. This is a harsh example of how a tiny minority can seek to spoil life for the many but hopefully we can overcome the setback and work together with Middlesbrough College , PD Ports and our local Council who have all been brilliantly supportive.”
“Whoever carried out the damage did so with care choosing areas where there are no nearby buildings or CCTV – that would provide a solution going forward and we shall be talking to Middlesbrough Council and others in the hope of providing some protection to ensure replacement trees get the benefit of an all seeing eye.
Our town and its people deserve to be able to use this increasingly popular ‘Green Travel Route’ so close to its centre in safety and with a transformed riverscape.”
Head of communications at PD Ports Kirsten Donkin said “This is mindless destruction of trees that were planted on behalf of the community, to improve our area now and for future generations. We’re shocked and disappointed that someone would choose to do this and would encourage anyone with information to come forward to the authorities.”
Zoe Lewis , Principal and Chief Executive of Middlesbrough College commented “Staff and students from across the college worked together with Erimus Rotary to make this tree planting and heritage walk a success and so words cannot describe the shock horror and sadness we all feel on seeing these images . This mindless vandalism will only make us even more determined to regroup and plant even more trees across the town next year.” Anyone with information is asked to contact Cleveland Police and quote crime ref CVP-23- 110353
Pictures show some examples of the damaged trees