HRH Princess Anne tree uprooted Image: Forest of Marston Vale

Tree vandalised for two nights running

The tree HRH The Princess Royal planted on Tuesday to dedicate the Forest of Marston Vale to the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy has been dug up overnight.

When staff went to the tree on Wednesday morning, they noticed that the tree Princess Anne planted had been ripped out of the ground.

It was found in a nearby pond. It was replanted, even though its roots had been exposed all night.

Today (1 August 2019) it was discovered that the tree was gone again. This time the tree was not found. The plaque marking the tree planting had also been removed.

Also, another oak tree, planted to celebrate volunteers receiving the Queens Award, had been pulled and bent. It has been growing for a few years, so the roots are more established, so it remained in the the ground.

However, the commemorative plaque was taken.

Forest Director, James Russell, said:

“Tuesday’s visit from HRH The Princess Royal was a huge honour and fantastic recognition of everything the Charity’s staff, volunteers and local communities have put in to creating the Forest of Marston Vale. Over the last 20 years, we’ve worked together to plant millions of trees, increasing tree cover from 3% to over 15%, and we’re delighted that the Forest is now part of the Queens Commonwealth Canopy.

“After such a great day of celebration, we were truly horrified to discover that someone has vandalised the tree planted by Her Royal Highness and stolen the plaques celebrating both the Royal visit and the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service awarded to our amazing volunteers. It’s a despicable act of mindless vandalism and theft, and one which is a huge insult to the many thousands of local people who’ve helped us achieve all we have over the last two decades, so we’re naturally working with Bedfordshire Police to bring those responsible to justice.

“But we won’t let such criminal behaviour distract us from continuing to work positively with local communities – we’re very proud of what we’ve all achieved together so far, and we’ll continue to engage people in planting trees to transform the landscape and make the Forest of Marston Vale a thriving place to live, work and play.”

Police Inspector Nick Masters said:

“It’s very disappointing to hear about this act of vandalism, and I hope it doesn’t put a dampener on what was an exciting and successful day for the Forest of Marston Vale, its staff and volunteers. We will continue to support them in maintaining an area that’s safe and can be enjoyed by all Bedfordshire’s residents, and we will continue to engage with the staff at the centre.”

“As always we’d encourage anyone with any information to call 101 or visit www.bedfordshire.police.uk/report.”