Saplings stolen from community space

THIEVES have stolen up to 40 saplings planted in Clevedon as part of a voluntary community project.

A grant from the Woodland Trust enabled 420 hawthorn, blackthorn, hazel, silver birch, rowan and oak saplings to be bought and planted in Glebe Field, adjacent to St Andrew’s Church off Old Church Road, in March.

This was carried out as part of a church project to create an outdoor community space featuring a nuttery and seating.

A large team of volunteers worked tirelessly to prepare the ground, which was previously used for grazing donkeys, before planting the saplings along with a special royal oak.

Less than a month later and up to 40 of the saplings have been stolen, with the culprits also removing stakes which were placed in the ground to deter animals from damaging the young plants.

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The saplings were taken from the boundary between the Glebe Field and Poet’s Walk footpath sometime on Thursday and Friday.

St Andrew’s Glebe Community Project member Eric Holdsworth said: “On Friday morning I was up early walking the dog along the path when I noticed about 15-20 saplings were missing.

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“When I went back on Friday evening about another 10-15 had gone missing.

“I think they have just taken the saplings for their own use.

“The problem is these saplings only cost a matter of pence. It is all the effort that goes into planting them.

“We cannot replace them now as there are specific planting times.

“There will just have to be a gap there until we can replace them in the autumn.”

The thefts have been reported to police.

Anyone with information or anyone who sees someone acting suspiciously in the area should contact Clevedon’s police team on 101.

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