A Wickford community group has been left devastated after yobs pulled out a pair of young trees it had painstakingly planted.

Environment group Wickford Wombles were shocked to discover two of the eight young alder’s which they had been safely planted on Riverside Walk at the beginning of March had disappeared without a trace on Monday morning.

Tracy Menzies, who founded the group in 2018, said a nearby witness spotted a pair of young girls pulling the trees and their heavy metal protective cage out of the ground and dumped in the nearby river.

These have been recovered and placed in buckets of water but it is unclear whether they will have survived. Ms Menzies, who lives near The Wick green, was devastated the hard work put in by volunteers had been wasted.

Echo: Trees being planted by the wombles in early March Trees being planted by the wombles in early March

She said: “We’re disappointed that people think its acceptable. I’m not going to see these trees mature but those girls will. Whatever we plant is for the benefit of them not us.

“It’s disrespectful to the area and the people you share the planet with. We need to see the state of the trees before replanting them really but hopefully they make it.

She added: “They were incredibly heavy when we planted them. Some effort has gone into attempting to destroy two trees.”  

Anger was shared by others in the areas including with local councillor David Harrison, leader of the Wickford Independents Group at Basildon Council, expressing his disgust at the vandalism.

Echo: David Harrison is leader of the Wickford Independents GroupDavid Harrison is leader of the Wickford Independents Group

He called on the town to receive more police officers to deal with these incidents saying the current level of patrols were unable to deal with similar incidents effectively.

He said: “The wombles raised money to put those trees in with the help of the council and it’s a criminal activity to take those trees out.  

“I’m almost lost for words because what do these idiots want to do with the trees. These things happen around Wickford and we don’t see the police enough.”

He added: “I’m not saying they would have caught the people doing this but I think there’s people who think they can get away with things more easily now. That’s the problem and it’s not want what we want to see at all.”