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Serial chopper targets Mumbles while trees in Clyne Gardens struck with machetes or hatchets

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: March 13, 2013

Dog walker Philip Thatcher examines the damage to the trees in Underhill Park

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CITY leaders are growing increasingly alarmed about a serial tree chopper who has struck again in Swansea.

In the latest attack, five trees in Mumbles were targeted by the saw-wielding vandal — or vandals.

One was felled while the other four had to be taken down by Swansea Council workers yesterday.

Meanwhile, a number of trees in nearby Clyne Gardens, Mayals, have had chunks removed with machetes or hatchets.

The culprit, or culprits, operate at night but their motive remains a mystery.

What is clear is that their actions are putting people's safety at risk, because several trees have been left standing with their trunks nearly severed.

The criminal damage spree has prompted widespread condemnation, and Swansea Council officers have met police to discuss the problems.

The latest attack, at Mumbles's Underhill Park, near its border with Newton Road, was on 25ft to 35ft birch and ash trees.

Dog walker Philip Thatcher, who moved to nearby Norton from Milton Keynes last week, said he thought the sawn trunks at the park were the result of planned council work.

"It is a shame someone has taken to vandalising them — just as everybody's getting ready for Easter and the summer," said Mr Thatcher, an IT consultant.

Oystermouth councillor Tony Colburn said: "At some stage, somebody is going to get injured.

"It is abject vandalism, not only causing serious damage to the environment but also putting members of the public's lives at risk."

He added: "It is obviously being done with a handsaw, and it would take a considerable amount of time to carry out this damage."

Tree vandals have struck at Underhill Park before, prior to the latest spate which has also focused on the promenade at West Cross and Blackpill.

Bafflingly, young pine trees have also been planted on a section of the prom by a mystery gardener.

George Kyrillou, the owner of Castle News in Newton Road, Mumbles, said everybody in the village had heard about the latest attack.

"They need to be caught," he said.

A council spokesman said the damage to the Clyne Gardens trees appeared to be different than that inflicted on those on the promenade and Underhill Park. The vandals, he said, were not cutting through the trunks but "taking chunks off with hatchets or machetes".

He added: "Our parks staff are being as vigilant as possible but we'd also ask the public for their help in keeping a lookout for those responsible."

A South Wales Police spokesman said: "Officers are investigating a number of incidents of criminal damage to trees at Underhill Park, Mumbles, which occurred sometime between 2pm on February 27 and 2pm on March 11.

"Patrols have been stepped up in the area to apprehend those responsible."

If you can help, phone police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.

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  • Spideyjonesy  |  March 14 2013, 3:50PM

    chopping down trees is akin to attempted murder???? are you well? I

  • Zoomer  |  March 13 2013, 8:54PM

    Money talks. The Council should post a reward. How much has it cost the Council already ? If the reward is large enough, someone will come forward.

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  • Neathboy234  |  March 13 2013, 1:54PM

    This is just awful, but not surprising. Every day were here from someone who's complaining that their view is being ruined by something or another

  • SensibleJohn  |  March 13 2013, 1:43PM

    They also seem to have struck outside the EP building near Wind Street ;-) But seriously, what's with the war on trees the council / highways seems to be waging? All along the M4, A465 and other roads the trees have been felled.

  • tawse57  |  March 13 2013, 11:13AM

    Are these trees vandalised in Underhill Park and Clyne Gardens the first time that trees have been cut down or damaged in those areas? I ask as I was walking to Mumbles on Saturday and it was obvious, just between Blackpill and West Cross, where most of the damage has been down - it is clearly in front of those big blocks of flats (some red brick and some a kind of grey) just before you reach the army base. So, from pure observation, it looks as if most of those trees vandalised were in front of those flats - am I correct? Anyone know for certain? Or have trees been cut elsewhere on the Prom? If the trees in Underhill Park and Clyne Gardens are the first ones to be damaged in those areas perhaps the person(s) responsible is now trying to distract attention from the Blackpill/West Cross area? Perhaps they read my comments on here, in the last article, where I theorised it was possible that someone was trying to fell trees blocking a clear sea view? This person, or even persons, needs to be caught ASAP. Apart from the damage they are doing to the trees - trees are so important in so many ways - that the idea of having some nutter wandering around the area with some axe or saw is not a good one. What if this person is discovered and confronted - how would he or she react?

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  • deridu  |  March 13 2013, 11:04AM

    sorry for the mistakes been away too long

  • deridu  |  March 13 2013, 11:03AM

    philosoraptor ...is quite right... then these culprits should be charges with murser... Do people walk around with closed eyes down there???? Maybe this happens through the night. don`t anyone hear anything either, NOT getting at the people there. maybe far away from homes. then these culprits should be known to people where they live,surely???

  • Philosoraptor  |  March 13 2013, 10:17AM

    If one of these tree's were not felled, and then fell on somebody because the trunk had been severed then it could easily kill people. As such, this should be treated with absolute priority by the police and classed as multiple instances of attempted murder. You would think forensics would have been called in by now, all it takes is one person or a even a group walking together to be in the wrong place at the wrong time when the wind blows hard and it could be very nasty. Then, too late, the forensic teams are asked to move in what would be officially classed under the law as attempted murder. Let's hope the police become pro-active about this and deploy the resources they have now to begin hunting down the culprit(s).

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