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Police in Maryport are appealing for the community to identify vandals who caused damage to an ancient tree which subsequently closed a road for almost four hours. At 12.03pm on Wednesday 26 September, a dog walker contacted police after noticing a tree that had been damaged and looked likely to fall on Mealpot Road, Maryport.
The oak tree tree, which was 20 metres high and around 200 years old, was positioned within the Memorial Gardens at Netherhall Corner. On attending, officers noticed that the tree, along with another smaller tree which was around seven metres high, had been damaged with a chain saw. It appears that offender(s) had cut three quarters of the way through the trees, enough to make them unstable and cause significant risk to passing pedestrians and motorists, before leaving the area.
Due to the position of the old oak tree, officers immediately cordoned off the road which remained closed until a tree surgeon carefully took it down at around 4pm. The smaller tree had fallen within the gardens of its own accord before officers arrived.
Sergeant Aidan Bew said: “This was a senseless and particularly malicious crime which could have caused very serious injuries to innocent passers-by.
“We have launched an investigation and after making local house to house enquiries, residents recall hearing the sound of a chain saw between 1am and 1.30am on Wednesday 26 September so we believe the damage was caused then.
“We are appealing to the community to help us and think back to late on Tuesday evening and into Wednesday morning. Did you see or hear anything out of the ordinary?
“We need to find whoever caused this damage and ensure that it doesn’t happen again.
“If you witnessed anything suspicious, or have any information that could lead us to the people responsible, please call me, PC Cassie Crawford or any of my team in Allerdale Borough policing team by calling 101. We are particularly keen to speak to anyone who has a business or private CCTV system that may cover the roads or pathways people travelling towards and from the gardens may have used.”
Information can also be passed anonymously to Crimestoppers by calling 0800 555 111.