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Trees vandalised at Radipole orchard
9:35am Friday 11th January 2013 in Latest
A SERIOUSLY ill man is devastated after his dying wish to plant a community orchard was destroyed in a 'systematic and deliberate attack'.
Denis Williams donated £500 to the Friends of Radipole Park and Gardens to create a community orchard in February last year.
The Radipole resident, aged 75, is currently seriously ill in Dorset County Hospital with emphysema.
Members of the community said they are 'sickened' after a total of 14 fruit trees were destroyed by vandals who targeted the gardens.
Richard Rant, chairman of the Friends Group, said: “Denis made the donation because he wanted to make a lasting contribution to the community.
“The orchard was planted in February last year and put in his name.
“It's awful because this is his legacy and it's being destroyed.
“When we told Denis what had happened he was devastated, this is a memorial to him and it's awful that someone is trying to ruin it.”
The damage was discovered by a grounds worker on Monday, January 7.
Nine trees were completely snapped off and another five have to be removed by the council because they have been scored around the base of the trunk and will not survive.
Some of the marks were fresh but others appeared to have been made up to three months ago.
Borough Councillor for Radipole Bill White said it is horrible that someone is trying to ruin Mr William's good work.
He said: “Denis wants the orchard to be enjoyed by the community in a way that he can't.
“This damage is not just mindless vandalism - it's a concerted effort to make it fail which is horrible.
“The trees were only planted last year so they are very young which makes them more vulnerable.”
Coun White, who is also a member of the Friends Group, said: “We are sickened, it is just absolutely sickening that someone would do this.
“No one can understand why but some did this deliberately and systematically.
“A lot of people are going to be absolutely devastated when they find out what has happened.”
The gardens, which are managed in partnership with Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, were targeted by vandals in November last year.
Andy Blackwood, spokesman for community facilities at Weymouth and Portland Borough Council, said: “A number of trees have been damaged in Radipole Park Gardens.
“The council will replace them in due course, but in the meantime I would urge anyone with any information to contact the police.”
A spokesman for Dorset Police said: “We are looking into this matter and appeal for any witnesses to come forward.
“This is a very sensitive location and a wonderful opportunity for people to relax and enjoy nature.
“The community has clearly been affected by the acts of these despicable criminals and given the personal circumstances of this incident we are very keen to find the persons responsible.”
Anyone with information can contact Dorset Police on 101 quoting crime reference number 09/239.