Trees cut down

27 April: Update from Elmbridge Borough Council

Dear residents 

Many of you will have read Surrey Police’s statement on the arrest of an individual last week (Friday 23 April) on suspicion of criminal damage of over 35 illegally cut down trees. We are of course delighted that there has been such a significant development in this case. 

The question now of course is, what happens to the trees that have been felled? How can we replace them? 

We are aware that there is great public interest in contributing to the costs of replanting and replacing those trees illegally cut down. Elmbridge Borough Council is committed to replacing as many of the felled trees as practical and we are currently working with Surrey Police to gather evidence for this case, which involves a detailed analysis of all the trees felled – their type, age and condition for example.  It is also worth noting that not all the trees were on Elmbridge land and part of our assessment is to determine land ownership and then work with our partners on the best way forward.

When we have completed that work, we will let you know the next steps in the plan to replace the trees. In the meantime, we ask that you refrain from establishing crowd funding sites or contributing financially until there is a clear path of action.

Many thanks, 

Elmbridge Borough Council

23 April: Update from Surrey Police

Man arrested on suspicion of criminal damage after around 35 trees are illegally cut down in Elmbridge 

A 24 year-old man from Weybridge has been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage and going equipped after around 35 have been cut down across Elmbridge and parts of Spelthorne over the course of a month. 

Officers were first alerted on Sunday, 21 March after local residents had noticed that a number of trees had been cut down overnight. Throughout the past month, more trees were cut down, some of which were left across the road, causing disruption to the area.

Surrey Police received a fantastic response from residents who contacted us with information, allowing investigating officers to identify a vehicle, they believed to be connected. Last night (22 April), this vehicle was stopped. Searches carried out in the suspect’s car and home address found several chainsaws and wood chippings. The man was arrested and remains in custody.  

Inspector Bert Dean, Borough Commander for Elmbridge said “This is an encouraging development in this investigation. We continue to piece together the evidence we have. Thank you again to the local community for their ongoing patience and support."

 

19 April: Update from Surrey Police 

Despite patrols and a period of no trees being felled it is apparent that the suspect(s) have returned. 

We have spent the past few weeks pouring over CCTV and ANPR (number plate recognition data) data in an effort to identify who is felling the trees. We have followed up on a number of leads given by the community but still there are still insufficient grounds to identify a suspect.

Over the weekend we have seen damage caused to at least 8 more trees in Weybridge (four in Walton Lane, two in Churchfields Avenue, one in Temple Market and one Oatlands Avenue).  These have occurred in the hours of darkness. We are reviewing CCTV relating to this.

If you have any digital footage that may be of assistance in identifying the suspect(s) or their vehicle (not photos of the damage) please upload it following this link.

Inspector Bert Dean says: "It is incredible sad that someone is destroying these trees. Not only are these a haven for wildlife but they bring much pleasure to our community. I am speaking to local Councillors who are increasingly concerned at this issue and we review every bit of evidence we can to try and identify who is doing this. We continue with our patrols into the night, whilst also responding to emergencies. I am aware that the public are wishing to support and I would encourage anyone with any evidence to upload it via the link."


7 April: From Surrey Police and Elmbridge Borough Council

“On 21 March it was reported that a number of trees were cut down by chain saw around the Cowey Sale area of Walton-on-Thames.

“Since that time, Surrey Police and Elmbridge Borough Council have identified at least 20 other instances of trees being cut down in Walton and Weybridge. This is concerning to both Surrey Police, Elmbridge Borough Council and residents.

Surrey Police have issued appeals for information and would like to thank residents for passing on information and sharing these posts. We would like to reassure the local community that we are following up all relevant information and the investigation remains ongoing. Patrols will also be carried out in the areas which have been targeted.

“Elmbridge Borough Commander Inspector Bert Dean said: “I do not underestimate the impact this mindless damage has on the local community as well as the risk it has posed to motorists by obstructing roads. We are looking at every opportunity to identify who is responsible for this and will continue to work closely with Elmbridge Borough Council to tackle this issue. If you have any information which could help, and you have not already got in touch, please contact us. ” 

“You can report any information to us If you have any information which could help, including CCTV footage, please contact us quoting incident reference number PR/ 45210028887 via:

“If you do not wish to leave your name, please call the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111

“If a crime is in progress please call 999, if there is an obstruction to the highway please call 101.

“In the meantime, the public are asked to report any tree damage to Elmbridge Borough Council via our website."

Date published: 21 April 2021

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