A FULL-SCALE investigation is underway after three mature trees were damaged in a quiet Delph backwater.
The trees, a 120-ft tall willow and two 30-ft sycamores, stand on Oldham Council land at Gartside Street, overlooking the River Tame and near a retirement housing development.
Perplexed villagers reported the damage to Oldham Council after discovering cuts – known as ring barking – which were believed to have been made by a chainsaw.
The cuts encircle the tree trunks, slicing through the bark, and locals feared the damaged trees could die or cause problems for the community.
Delph resident Gilbert Symes said: “I heard the sound of a circular saw being used. It’s a real shame the trees have been damaged. They stand in a lovely spot.”
Oldham and Saddleworth Parish Councillor Nicola Kirkham, who lives in Delph, said: “It is disgraceful behaviour that someone has ring barked the trees in order to destroy them.
“The three mature trees are a beautiful addition to the village. In the summer they are in full bloom and are just so pretty.
“I believe witnesses have come forward and reported this to the borough council and police.”
Cllr Barbara Brownridge, Cabinet Member for Oldham Environment Services, said: “Our officers have visited the vandalised trees in Delph. We are shocked and very disappointed.
“The damage caused is clearly deliberate and could kill them, although they may still recover.
“We are taking these offences very seriously and have conducted our own investigation. We have reported our findings to the police who are now dealing with the matter.
“We urge anyone with any information to contact our team on 0161 770 4067.”