A YOUNG wood planted by criminal offenders has been ‘systematically’ vandalised over two weeks.
Callous vandals have stripped protection from 300 saplings at the base of Ness Braes at Buckhaven and apparently flung them on a camp fire.
Members of CLEAR Buckhaven, the environmental action group which spearheaded the wood planting programme, said they were extremely disappointed at the damage caused.
Chairperson Bob Taylor said: “You expect a certain amount of wastage but this is systematic damage.
“They are even hacking down old trees.
“We think it’s probably been caused by young campers at the bottom of the braes.
“There was evidence of the tree stakes and tube protectors in the camp fires.
He added: “Using stakes is not exactly an efficient form of firewood!
The organisation reckons the vandals targeted the wood between April 10-13 and 25 per cent of the trees have been uprooted or damaged as a result.
Work is now ongoing to re-protect the remaining saplings.
“Deer, which we believe come over from the Wemyss’ lands and rabbits, have damaged the trees in the past, especially the fruit trees,” explained Mr Taylor.
The area was planted between one and two years ago by offenders carrying out community service.
The task, which took two days, saw 300 seedlings planted of native species, including rowan, ash and birch.
Mr Taylor continued: “The woodland will be a fabulous asset for the community but the irony is, by the time it is mature, many of us at CLEAR will be dead or living in an old folk’s nursing home.
“It’ll be them [the vandals] that should be reaping the benefit in years to come.”
Fife Constabulary is appealing for information from members of the public.
Levenmouth Community Inspector Mike Collins said: “Around 500 trees have been planted by the local community at Ness Braes in Buckhaven to help improve the local environment and enhance the Fife Coastal Path enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.
“It is unacceptable that mindless individuals have destroyed these trees and ruined those efforts. I would urge anyone with information that might assist the police trace those responsible to contact us on 0845 600 5702 or Crimestoppers on 0800 111 555.”