Tree lovers in the Dearne are being asked to be on the look-out for determined vandals who are destroying the trees in Rotherham town centre.
A whopping 28 of the 71 trees within the town have been targeted - some so badly that they have had to be removed or will be removed.
Seven more specimens are being closely by monitored by Rotherham Council’s tree officers, while a further 17 have suffered minor damage.
Now the authority is becoming so alarmed about the damage they are asking for the support of the public in an effort to track down the vandals.
Over the past few month they have stripped the bark off the trees - ornamental cherries, rowan and crab apple - that line Effingham and Frederick Streets, and Minster Yard.
Councillor Gerald Smith, the authority’s cabinet member for environment and development services, said trees in the town centre have been damaged in the past, but that the problem has escalated in recent months.
He said: “It is absolutely sickening and has become a real problem. This is not minor damage. This is someone, or some people, systematically stripping the bark from the trunks of these trees, which results in them dying off and having to be removed.
“We are now we are asking that the public keep an eye out and report any suspicious behaviour to the police, who we have alerted to the problem. The trees in the town centre make all the difference to the environment and to lose them would be a massive loss.
“They are not cheap to replace either, costing about £2,000 each, which soon mounts up when so many are being affected.”
If anyone can offer any information about who is causing the damage please contact Rotherham Streetpride. (01709) 336003