Strolling through our Priory Park on Friday, I noticed that the neat lollipop-style bay trees were not looking too healthy any more. Of seven trees, several now have dead, brown leaves and at least one is denuded of its lower bark.
Stopping to chat to my park keeper friend who was carefully tending the herbaceous borders in Monks Walk, I just mentioned this and to my horror, he told me what has been happening.
Repeatedly on Wednesday and Saturday evenings, persons unknown have been yanking those trees out of the soil, lugging them over to the fountain pool at the centre of the Sunken Garden, and leaving them there in the water to drown!
What mindless evening pranks - those idiots responsible for this are thoroughly disrespectful to the trees, to all of us who visit the park and especially with this particular part of consecrated ground beside the old Priory. The whole set of baytrees was replaced last year, but it looks as if this new batch are destined for the tip too. And the cost to ratepayers? £100 each plus VAT. Go figure how much that costs.
Then we have 2 young lads who decided to light a fire in the woods, necessitating a callout by the Fire Brigade, because of the risk of burning peat. It turns out that these thoughtless visitors had travelled all the way from Orpington and London.
And to cap it all, there are so many people coming from all over, with picnic stuff and choosing to go to the more secluded areas like the stable hill - and what do they do with their rubbish? Precisely nothing. This is exactly what I had written about to the local newspaper a few years ago.
I hope they all get caught, named and shamed - and fined. Anyone else with a camera?