ABOUT 2,000 hedge saplings that had been newly planted were ripped out of a field, along with their guards and support canes.
Tree planters worked from 7am until 6pm for three days last week near Blackhall Rocks, east Durham, only to find the saplings had been ripped out of the soil less than 24 hours after the work had been completed.
There was also damage caused by what is thought to be quad bikes.
One member of the team who planted the trees said: “This is trespassing and the damage is costly, but it is soul destroying too, ruining our hard work and spoiling the area for all the local residents – not to mention the shelter for wildlife.
“Would people prefer a wide open, windswept prairie with no trees? I know the police have their hands full, but if these motor bike menaces are not stoppped, the whole quality of life will suffer.
“They believe themselves to be above the law. Every farm in County Durham is affected by this sort of behaviour.
“These people regard the countryside as a playground – they can’t be stopped – it’s just a bit of sport for them.”
The trees have been replanted, but without guards, which leaves them vulnerable to being eaten by rabbits.
He added: “The rabbits will do less damage than the people. We had to pay twice to have the trees planted again.
“We just wanted to bring life back into the countryside again. The whole countryside is suffering by the actions of a small majority.
“I am not very happy. The people who put the trees in are not at all happy.
“We spent three days putting them in and they’re all destroyed. How would you feel if you put a fence up and you came back and someone had pulled it down?
“If someone had stolen the trees at least they’d make use of them – we could understand it but they just pulled them out of the ground.
“We had to pick them up quickly in the morning or the roots would have dried up and they would die. Nobody gains – but they get some pleasure out of this.”
No one at Durham Police was able to comment at the time of going to press.