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.