Vandals destroy celebration tree

A TREE planted to mark the centenary of Matlock’s Hall Leys Park has been destroyed by vandals.

The park celebrated its 100th birthday in June and to mark the occasion chairman of the District of the Derbyshire Dales, councillor Judith Twigg helped to plant a commemorative tree.

The tree completed the impressive avenue of limes along the riverside Broadwalk.

But over the weekend vandals snapped the bough and pulled up the newly planted sapling.

Police are appealing for witnesses and are set to check the CCTV cameras in the park.

A spokesman for the district council said: “Thankfully mindless vandalism like this is extremely rare in Hall Leys Park and indeed in Matlock in general – that’s what makes this news all the more disappointing, especially as the district council’s parks team works so hard for local people and visitors to maintain the park’s Green Flag status as one of the very best in the whole of the UK.”

He added: “We have CCTV cameras in the Hall Leys and have reported the vandalism to police.

“Whenever this kind of incident occurs we would encourage anyone who has any information to contact the local policing team.”

A new tree has been ordered.

Last July yobs caused around £6,000 of damage to trees in Hall Leys after five trees were slashed.

A week later vandals struck again at the award-winning park – ripping up flowers, setting fire to a bin and damaging trees.

Matlock mayor Barry Hopkinson, who attended the ceremony to plant the celebration tree said: “I think it’s a crying shame that someone would do this.

“People get a lot of enjoyment from the park and a lot of time and effort goes in to keeping it looking good.

“A small minority are ruining it for everyone else.”

Witnesses should contact police on 0345 123 3333 or anonymously through the Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.