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School children devastated after vandals destroy planting project

PUBLISHED: 15:20 07 February 2018 | UPDATED: 10:23 08 February 2018

Year five students said they were all sad when they heard the news. Picture: Mattishall Primary School

Year five students said they were all sad when they heard the news. Picture: Mattishall Primary School

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Pupils from a primary school in mid-Norfolk were shocked to discover that the trees they had planted in the back field of their school had been completely destroyed in an act of vandalism.

Bicycles had left deep tracks across the land where the trees were planted. Picture: Mattishall Primary SchoolBicycles had left deep tracks across the land where the trees were planted. Picture: Mattishall Primary School

At the end of January children from Mattishall Primary School finished planting more than 200 trees in a massive effort to try and support the local wildlife but sometime over the first weekend of February their work was destroyed by vandals.

Teaching staff came back from the weekend to find that tyre tracks from bicycles had left deep marks across the plot of land where the trees had been planted and the shoots had been pulled from the ground.

They had also stolen a protective membrane, along with the plastic and metal pegs that held it down.

The area now shows no sign of all of the hard work that went into the preparation and planting.

The pupils planted more than 200 trees. Picture: Mattishall Primary SchoolThe pupils planted more than 200 trees. Picture: Mattishall Primary School

Year five students had taken the lead on the project but every child in the school planted a tree. Headteacher, Tony Chapman, said the children were “shocked” by what has happened.

“The children are shocked and upset by this act of sheer vandalism,” he said. “The willow tree planting was a long time in the planning with our volunteer gardener, Mr Robert French. We are now working with him on a plan to replace our lost trees.”

The year five students collaboratively wrote a statement to express their disappointment, which read: “When we started planting our willow we were all really excited and happy. We were all laughing and having fun.

“Then a few days later our Head Teacher came in and we thought we were in trouble but then he told us at the weekend there were people who had wrecked all of it.

The pupils planted more than 200 trees. Picture: Mattishall Primary SchoolThe pupils planted more than 200 trees. Picture: Mattishall Primary School

“They had taken the black sheeting that we planted the willow on and the pegs were taken too.

“All the willow was snapped or stolen. The only thing left were the metal pegs. We were all sad, we all gasped when he told us.”

Despite the original work going to waste, the school is not giving up on their plan to encourage wildlife and become a more carbon friendly school and they are now looking at starting over on the project.

A spokesperson for Norfolk Police said they do not have any lines of enquiry and the area was not covered by CCTV. If anyone witnessed the incident or has any information call 101.

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