A COMMUNITY clean-up operation was launched after vandals ripped 200 protective tubes from newly-planted trees.

Yobs left the plastic tree guards strewn around on grassland and in streams near the new woodland area in Huncoat.

Huncoat Community Forum said they were ‘incredibly disappointed’ by the vandalism which came after numerous groups came together to plant over 1,000 new trees.

A 17-stong team of volunteers including PCSOs, police cadets and representatives from Woodside House and Senator international and local volunteers planted the 200 trees at Greenway, off Bolton Avenue.

This came after hundreds of trees were planted at Spout House woodland.

Huncoat councillor Dave Parkinson said: “It is enormously frustrating because in a few hours they undid the work of an entire day. We had many volunteers take part who gave up their free time feeling that their work would help make the area a better place for everyone.

“It is just very selfish for that work to be torn down by someone else for no reason at all. As well as destroying tree guards which we had put up to protect the trees, they left them strewn around the entire area and in the stream. After putting up the guards we then had to clean up the area. To say the least we were not pleased.”

Chairman of the forum Roy Chetham said: “Sadly all the guards put on were ripped off by vandals within two days. However it seems the trees themselves suffered little harm.

“All residents are asked to act as stewards by keeping a watch for inappropriate activity in the woodlnads such as camp fires, barbecues, litter and dog fouling.”