Wigan village in shock after hundreds of trees vanish
More than 200 saplings have been mysteriously uprooted from Vicarage Lane Fields in Shevington, and their individual protective fences left strewn across the fields.
Around 300 of the trees were planted last November, when 80 people gathered to help plant the tiny trees.
They had been awarded to Shevington Parish Council by the Woodland Trust - the UK’s leading woodland conservation charity - in a bid to increase the greenery in the area.
Krystyna Pilkington, clerk at the parish council, said: “At least 200 of them have been uprooted and have disappeared in one fell swoop. Even the bamboo cane supports have been taken.
“Was it theft? Was it vandalism? Was it both?”
“This was a real community occasion,” she said of the planting ceremony back in November.
“Little children of two and three years of age, in wellies, brought their own small spades, and larger spades were wielded by older community members.
“Young people doing voluntary work for the Duke of Edinburgh award, allotment workers, football and rugby players, including Joe Burgess of Wigan Warriors, plus some of the community’s older members all joined in this community effort!
“It is difficult to accept that people of such cynicism can try to destroy the work of so many in our community! But that has happened.”
But the parish is determined not to be deterred by the callous act, said Krystyna.
She added: “The Parish Council wish to thank all those who took part with such enthusiasm that morning. We may not recover the trees, but the goodwill of all those who took part will, we are sure, continue.
“Thanks also to those who valued the work, tried to help by replanting when possible and who reported the findings to us.”
The trees were planted on the large Vicarage Lane field, which is frequented by many green-fingered residents.
Last summer, 50 new allotments were opened and immediately attracted plaudits and high praise.
Within weeks the land was transformed by flowers in full bloom and vegetables ready for the picking.
All but one of the allotments were hired out to locals – and the general view was that they gave gardeners a new lease of green-fingered life.
The land was bought by Shevington Parish Council and the district’s active Gardening Club has put energy and enthusiasm into the lettings.
The disappearance of the saplings, which has been seen as a huge blow to the community, has been reported to the police.
Anyone with information about the incident should call the non-emergency number 101, or contact the Parish Council at [email protected].