Basildon Council leader targets tree vandals

The leader of Basildon Council has called for vandals targeting trees planted to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II’s jubilee to be met with “hellfire and blood” if caught.

At a cabinet meeting on November 16, councillors heard how a video had been sent to a number of members that showed a perpetrator attempting to fell six commemorative trees in Victoria Park, Laindon with what is thought to be “an audible power tool”.

Previous incidents of vandalism were found to have occurred almost immediately after the trees and plaque were unveiled. All six trees targeted in the latest incident were completely destroyed.

Councillor Jeff Henry (Con, Laindon Park), who is the portfolio holder of health, wellbeing, leisure, arts and culture told members in attendance that a “considerable amount of money was spent and reasonable effort put into” planting the trees along with a plaque in Victoria Park to celebrate the late Queen’s jubilee in 2022.

However, he said: “Only a matter of months later we have seen vandalism on a scale that’s just completely unacceptable in this borough.

“It just can’t be allowed to happen. If people think we have endless streams of money to put into this, we don’t.

“I cannot describe how angry I am at people smashing stuff up as soon as we’ve spent money to put it in place. They need to give their heads a wobble and get a life.”

Calling for the perpetrators to be identified and prosecuted, council leader Andrew Baggott (Con. Burstead) said: “I think we should be exploring every avenue we can to identify these culprits and meet them with hellfire and blood and damnation and brimstone.

“I hope that Essex Police would support us with this. It is nothing more than pre-calculated and premeditated vandalism on an absolutely monumental scale.

“It is totally uncalled for and uncosted; whoever did it should be caught, locked up and the key thrown away.”

Emma Doyle

Local Democracy Reporter