‘MINDLESS Vandals’ used a 'large knife' in a park to strip a tree of its bark.

A Maple tree in Valley Gardens, Barnoldswick,was targeted by yobs, who used the blade to remove its protective layer on Sunday.

Councillors said the tree, believed to be around 20-years-old will now most likely die.

Angry resident Janet Brennand, who lives near the park, said she saw the damage caused first hand.

She said: “I am absolutely appalled at what has happened.

“It’s worrying because whoever did it has access to a large sharp knife.”

Several residents attended Wednesday’s Barnoldswick Town Council meeting to raise the issue.

Mrs Brennand said: “We need to report every piece of crime or vandalism we see to the police to get things done.

“There’s been a problem in the past of tyres being slashed and other crimes, we need to let the police know what is going on.”

Stripping trees of its outer bark can reduce its ability to protect itself from the environment.

Cllr David Whipp said: “It’s absolutely shocking, here we are as a community trying to make a pleasant environment and attract wildlife.

“We have planted between 100 and 200 trees in the latest planting season but for one depraved individual to kill one of these threes in Valley Garden is despicable.

“The tree will die, there’s no hope for it.”

The park, near Federation Street and Gisburn Road, is home to play equipment, a playground for disabled users and a picnic area.

PC Duncan Park, investigating the incident, said: “Mindless vandals have taken it upon themselves to strip the bark from a tree in Valley Gardens, Barnoldswick.

“They would have been in possession of a large knife of some description in order to do this.

“Barnoldswick Council and members of the public work hard to make the town a nice place and most people appreciate this effort.

“However a small minority think this sort of behaviour is fun and ruin it for everyone else.

“This isn’t the first time trees have been damaged in the town.

“Anyone with information about who is responsible should call police on 101.”