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    Trees under threat from poison

    Two mature pine trees have become victim to poison in an attack believed to have been committed by a homeowner in order to improve their sea view. An investigation has been launched to locate the culprit.

    Residents in the picturesque West Cliff area of Bournemouth, Dorset, were left furious after they discovered the sophisticated attempt to kill off the pair of 30ft Scots pines. It’s believed the trees have been deliberately poisoned so they will have to be felled, giving a better view of Poole Bay from luxury flats overlooking the cliff and leading to a potential increase in property values. The pines stand on West Cliff Green, a beauty spot that lies between the clifftop in Bournemouth and several blocks of flats that sell for up to £500,000 each.

    Council officials are now investigating the criminal damage, which has involved someone making numerous drill holes deep into the trunks of the two trees to pour in poisonous chemicals, it’s believed the holes have been made over two different growing seasons a year apart.

    A council arboricultural officer has inspected the damage and has confirmed the two trees are showing signs of ill health and might have to be felled. Colin Pipe, 53, who has a flat which overlooks the green, said: “We noticed the tops go brown towards the end of last year and then it just seemed to get progressively worse, so we reported to the council that something might be wrong with them.

    “The council told me that the holes haven’t all been done in one growing season, so it’s been done more than once, and they have been done at an angle to allow stuff to be poured into the holes.

    “It’s obvious why someone has done it – people do it to improve the view and they think ‘if I got rid of that it will put £15,000 value on my flat.’ ”

    Reverend Christopher Colledge, chairman of the West Cliff Green Residents’ Association, said: “It is quite incredible what lengths people will go to if they want a particular tree removed. Hopefully the police will look into it, especially in regard to people in the area who might be able to get a better view with those trees gone.

    “People just can’t go around drilling holes into trees in a public park because they don’t like their location. It is absolutely deplorable. It is a horrible selfish act.”

    Bournemouth Borough Council said it would look to prosecute if it can identify the perpetrator and the trees will be replaced if they die. The authority is urging the public to photograph or video any suspicious activity around the trees. Anyone who wilfully destroys or damages a tree that is subject to a Tree Preservation Order can be taken to court and fined up to £20,000. In serious cases, a trial can go to crown court and, if convicted, the criminal is liable to an unlimited fine.

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