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Mystery vandals axe canal trees that spoil view

13 January, 2017 — By Gabe Evans

Cllr Claudia Webbe

MYSTERY tree vandals are believed to have hacked down trees near Regent’s Canal because they spoiled the view.

A young beech tree was attacked with a saw last week. The tree was itself a replacement for one damaged with a drill and weedkiller.

The Town Hall is treating the attack on the tree in Thornhill Bridge Community Garden, just off Caledonian Road, as criminal damage.

Council environment chief Claudia Webbe said: “We do not understand why anyone would deliberately harm trees that are valued and enjoyed by so many people. This wanton act of vandalism is criminal damage.”

The axed tree

The sapling was planted to replace a much-loved ash tree targeted in February 2013.

That incident was reported by a local resident, who saw a man drilling into the base of the 30-year-old tree in broad daylight. The culprit rushed away, having also poured weedkiller into the holes. Though the perpetrator was never caught, Islington Council suspected the culprit was a disgruntled resident who had lost light because of the tree.

The council and local environment organisation Cally Arts have transformed Thornhill Bridge Gardens from a neglected piece of land to a flourishing woodland garden after receiving a £100,000 grant in 2010.

They chose a spot for the new tree away from nearby properties.

“It just doesn’t make sense” said the resident who reported the incident in 2013. “Even one tree is so invaluable to this whole area, with the pollution we get from Euston Road and Pentonville.”

Green activist Sophie Talbott, a former actress, said: “Tree vandalism in the area is a growing problem because of all the new developments happening along the canal.

“As soon as new flats are built with nice views people are not going to want trees.”

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