At least three of the new trees in Uckfield High Street have been snapped in the past week and can’t be replaced until next year.
Sean Martin, whose company APS has a contract to look after the trees and water them six months of the year, said he had been out this morning to remove a broken tree from outside St Peter and St James Hospice charity shop.
On Saturday he removed one from outside the Lansdown health food shop which was damaged overnight, and another has been broken outside Sussex Stationers. He said they would be replaced next year.
Uckfield Deputy Mayor, Cllr Duncan Bennett said: “Who is the idiot who has destroyed trees in the High Street?
“Not only is it criminal damage, disfiguring to our street scene and sad for the trees, it’s also something that we all pay for.
“I hope the police can examine the town CCTV and bring the vandal to justice. If you saw anything last night, please let the police know.”
Luke Emsley posted on Facebook that he was driving back from work last night when he saw two males, one in a black jumper and one in a white jumper standing next to one of the trees.
He then looked in his rear view mirror and saw the male in the white jumper pulling the tree down.
Statement from town council
A statement from Uckfield Town Council says:
“We are very saddened by loss of the trees in the High Street following the vandalism that took place last night and during last Friday evening/early hours of Saturday morning.
“Information has been added to the initial crime report put forward to Sussex Police in relation to the vandalism that took place and we will be working together to find the culprits, which will include reviewing CCTV and information gathered in the nearby vicinity.
“We would urge anyone who saw any suspicious activity late on Wednesday, November 9, and between 10.30pm and 5am on the night of Friday, October 28, 2016, to contact Sussex Police on email@example.com, or call 101, quoting serial 756 of 07/11.”
Uckfield Town Council CCTV discussions
•Minutes of an Uckfield Town Council meeting held on Monday, October 17, say members reviewed an initial CCTV report in private and resolved to ask the town clerk to undertake further research into options available and report back to the next meeting of the full council.
From our files
Report on UckfieldNews.com on September 12, 2016
Uckfield town centre CCTV cameras are becoming increasing difficult to maintain.
The cameras are ten years old and obtaining parts to maintain them is becoming more and more difficult as they are no longer manufactured.
Police do not routinely monitor the cameras, with footage only viewed after an incident.
Town council officers are meeting police to obtain an “operational overview” of CCTV in the town before producing a report to councillors towards the end of October.
Members of the council’s environment and leisure committee meeting last Monday (September 5) asked for statistics on how many times the CCTV had been viewed in the last 12 months.
The council is now considering its budget for the financial year 2017/18 and will be deciding what money to allocate to projects in the coming year, such as CCTV.
Report on UckfieldNews.com on July 23, 2014
CCTV cameras in Uckfield remain a “deterrent”, town councillors have been assured.
They asked Sussex Police for an update on the cameras following comments at the annual town meeting in April.
A resident noted no arrests had been made following a burglary at jewellers George Moss in the High Street and asked the council if it was satisfied CCTV coverage of the town centre was adequate.
A police report to the council said the CCTV for the burglary was not of sufficient detail to actually identify the suspects or trace the car. “This is not unusual,” the report said.
Cameras were not infallible and there would be times when lighting was not good, the camera was pointing in the wrong direction. They were, however, a deterrent and a “great tool in security”.
The report concluded: “It may well be worth considering enhanced CCTV and the systems get cheaper and more sophisticated as time goes on.
“However, in times of budget cuts it will still come at a cost and no system will guarantee that it will capture the right quality of footage.”
The town council is budgeting for replacement CCTV cameras.
Owen Hoy writes in an email:
Having read your report earlier today in relation to the wanton destruction of the newly planted trees in our lovely high street, I have got to say that I am appalled and disgusted at the behaviour of the individuals who saw fit to behave in this uncalled for manner. It is a case of we haven’t got it so neither will you.
It beggars belief that people of this ilk live within the Uckfield community. Words fail me and I sincerely hope that someone some where knows who these individuals are and reports them to the police as a matter of some urgency as they need to be held responsible for their actions by way of paying for the trees to be replaced, fined and banned from Uckfield.
This incident raises a fundamental question once again though in that if we still had Uckfield police officers and PCSOs on the beat would this have happened? I think not.
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