Fury over tree vandalism

Wooden stakes protecting the young trees were damaged
Wooden stakes protecting the young trees were damaged

An award-winning River Dee protection project has been hit by vandalism.

Recently-planted trees in the Braemar area have been damaged in an act branded “mindless stupidty”.

The trees are part of the Pearls in Peril (PiP) project set up in Deeside to enhance wildlife locations, improve watercourses and help the freshwater pearl mussel to survive.

All wooden stakes - which are necessary to support young trees - have been removed, presumed to have been used on nearby campfires, alongside discarded empty glass bottles and other debris.

River director Mark Bilsby said: “After years of hard work by different groups and volunteers in the local community to get these trees planted to protect the river and associated wildlife, this simple act of vandalism is incredibly disappointing.

“We will not be put off by this mindless stupidity and will replace the trees and the enclosures.

“We would urge locals and visitors to the area to remain vigilant and report any potential criminal activities either to the local police or ourselves at the river office.”

Signs were put up on fencing to explain the reason for tree-planting, and asking campers to help look after them by leaving the enclosures untampered.

The River Restoration Centre and Dee District Salmon Fishery Board recently invited delegates from throughout the UK to Braemar to visit sites where the river and its tributaries had been restored.