VANDALS have carried out a chainsaw massacre of trees, signs and fences in a nature reserve in Whitehill.
The attack at the Deadwater Valley Local Nature Reserve last weekend has caused untold damage. The full cost is not yet known.
The reserve covers land from Lindford Road, south to Mill Chase Road, past Conde Way to Walldown Road.
Damage caused by chainsaw-wielding yobs included the cutting in half of a bench commemorating a volunteer who helped out in the popular area.
Also in the mindless frenzy two holly trees and one silver birch were damaged.
And wayfarer signs, an information board, a bridge, fences and barriers were damaged in what must have been a sustained attack taking some time.
The reserve is managed by the Deadwater Valley Trust on behalf of Whitehill Town Council.
Council leader Andy Tree said: “This is so upsetting as we enter a period of sunshine and want to provide open spaces for the community.
“The council pays the trust to manage the reserve using our share of council tax and it is hugely regrettable that money has to be used to repair such mindless damage.
“A number of organisations have been involved in the project including Hampshire County Council who have offered support to see how we can work together to resolve and fix the damage.”
The police have been notified about the incident, and witnesses, or anyone with information, should call the local police team on 101, or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.
It is thought the perpetrators may have begun their spree in the Conde Way car park as two fences, a chicane and noticeboard were cut up there.
Cllr Tree continued: “This is a crime and the police have been notified.
“Someone with a chainsaw or equivalent went through the reserve.
“They then destroyed all the Green Grid and Green Loop signs, down to the metal mounting brackets.
“We also understand a memorial bench dedicated to a volunteer was damaged.
“And whoever did this attacked the natural environment as trees have been damaged too.
“Whoever did this clearly has no care in the world for nature, having attacked trees with the saw.
“It’s very hard for Deadwater Valley Trust staff and volunteers to see this criminal damage.
“I want to reassure them that their contribution is very much valued by our community.”
In a statement the trust rangers said: “We are aware of the disgraceful vandalism which has taken place over Friday and Saturday night.
“We will be making repairs where possible.
“But some of the damaged signs etc will need to be taken out and replaced at a cost.
“If anybody has any information about who is responsible for these acts of vandalism, please contact the ranger team by email to [email protected] deadwatervalleytrust.co.uk or contact us on 01420 479070.”
The reserve occupies a corridor of land along the River Deadwater from the Walldown Road bridge downstream to the River Wey, a block of mixed woodland known as Alexandra Park and an area of land around Woodlea School, including the Walldown Scheduled Ancient Monument.