Trees destroyed in Welwyn Garden City street

“I THOUGHT there had been a nuclear attack.”

That was the reaction of one WGC resident after trees were vandalised by youths in a midnight massacre.

Six cherry trees in Pentley Park were destroyed by a gang of eight to 10 teenagers who broke the trunks or, failing that, tore off leaves and branches.

And a week later, on Friday evening, the vandals returned to “finish the job”, bringing down another tree.

One resident who witnessed the destruction on the first night said: “I walked into my kitchen to see a bloke going by the window with a tree branch across his shoulders.

“It’s quite incredible and I don’t understand how people can do a thing like that as normally we don’t have any problems.”

The 84-year-old phoned police at 12.30am on Saturday, October 17, but by the time they attended, about an hour later, the gang had gone.

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He added: “The trees were dumped all the way up the road so I had to remove them and put them on the verges.”

Another neighbour said: “It was a pretty disturbing experience to come out of my house and see that.

“I thought there had been a nuclear attack or something as there were bits of trees strewn all across the road.”

Referring to Friday’s vandalism, Susan Hitchin said: “Between 6pm and 6.30pm another tree was somehow brought down.

“It’s most bizarre. This particular tree was damaged last week – it’s as if they came back to finish the job.

“It all seems rather strange in that it’s much earlier than last Friday.”

Mrs Hitchin added she and some neighbours had sat up late that night hoping the gang would return, but to no avail.

The trees were planted by Welwyn Hatfield Council in 2006 to replace ones that had become diseased.

A spokeswoman said: “Following the shocking news of vandalism to six cherry trees at Pentley Park, the council has now removed the damaged saplings.

“These trees will be replaced in March 2010.”

A police spokeswoman said: “It is under investigation and is being treated as criminal damage.”

Call Pc Ben Satchfield with information on 0845 33 00 222.

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