Jun 9 2011 by Chris Clements, Hamilton Advertiser
NATURE lovers have expressed their anger at mindless vandals torching trees at a Blantyre nature spot.
Residents and dog-walkers who regularly use the woodland path through Greenhall Park, High Blantyre, have also said that youths are using the secluded area as a drinking den.
One man also said that burnt-out trees are blocking pathways and are hazardous to other users of the park.
Last week, resident Chris Wright told the Advertiser that he became aware of the problem when walking his Jack Russell cross, Alfie, in the park.
He explained: “I often walk Alfie down at Greenhall Park, near to the golf course and the Rotten Calder.
“It is basically just a decent woodland walk.
“But when I was down there recently, I noticed that about a dozen or so trees had been set alight.
“Some of the trees had actually toppled, and had caused quite a bit of damage.
“It appears to be some local kids that are going down at night and just setting them on fire for the sake of it.
“It’s pure vandalism, and totally mindless.
“If they knew how long it took for those trees to grow to the size they are at the moment, I wonder if they would still set them on fire.
“It’s just a load of kids that are doing it, but they should know better. They must just be doing it for entertainment.
“There must have also been a few fires that were lit along the pathways in the woods, but to torch the trees is just stupidity.
“It’s a shame because most of these trees are massive and must be quite old.
“One has fallen across the pathway and is now in a dangerous position for people walking past. It’s a mindless act by the vandals who are scaring this beautiful area.
“Hopefully, by getting this highlighted, maybe something can be done about it.”
It is not the first time the Advertiser has reported on complaints of vandalism at Greenhall Park.
Locals were furious to learn that the Millheugh Bridge, which spanned the Rotten Calder, had been destroyed.
The bridge had been vandalised and removed, before being dropped into the water.
However, park users theorised that the damage wasn’t caused by boozy youths, but by someone operating heavy machinery and cutting equipment.
A spokesman for South Lanarkshire Council said: “All vandalism is to be condemned and this type of damage to living, mature trees is particularly abhorrent.
“We would ask the public to inform the police immediately if they witness vandalism of any kind.
“Priority is currently being given to ensure that the dangerous and unstable trees damaged by the recent storm have been attended to.
“We were not aware of this particular problem but will investigate the matter as soon as possible.”
A Strathclyde Police spokesman said that there had been no recent reports of antisocial behaviour in that area.
However, she added: “If anyone witnesses any acts of vandalism or antisocial behaviour, they should contact Blantyre Community Policing Team on 01698 202565.”
Alternatively, you can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.