An act of vandalism in a Melbourne suburb has left residents outraged after a number of newly planted trees were destroyed.
A photo shared on Reddit shows the damage caused to the nature strip on Armstrong Road, in the southwest suburb of Werribee, after all but one were knocked over.
Council's theory over vandalism
Wyndham City Director, City Operations, Stephen Thorpe, told Yahoo News Australia it "appears that a four-wheel drive is responsible" for the deplorable act.
The culprit has not been identified at this stage, he said, although "investigations are continuing."
"Wyndham City abhors vandalism or any illegal activity and takes these matters extremely seriously. An attack on trees is an attack on all our residents. It needs to be called out and condemned," Mr Thorpe said.
"Wyndham City, along with many residents and community groups, work hard every year to plant more trees and increase our tree canopy. Vandalism such as this has no place in Wyndham," he added.
The fallen trees will be removed and replaced as part of Wyndham City’s tree planting program, Mr Thorpe confirmed.
It's believed the area is a newly developed estate that's "lacking greenery" and the trees were planted roughly three years ago, the poster revealed.
People in the comments said the act left them "devastated" with many calling for the culprit to be punished.
"I don’t get why people do this—is it for sh**s and giggles?" one asked.
"A street or world without trees is the most depressing thing imaginable," another said.
"I hope they catch and charge whoever did this. This is so devastating," a third wrote.
An ongoing issue: 'Nothing new'
Although shocked, locals from the area weren't surprised that someone had destroyed the trees on purpose with many admitting it happens often.
"I work for a company that replaces a lot of street trees out west. It's ridiculous how much more often they're destroyed out there in comparison to other estates," one admitted.
"I did tree planting for local council for a while. It was always heartbreaking how many trees were vandalised. I wish they could fight back sometimes," another said.
"Someone did this at our local park. It takes a lot of council workers to fix this damage. So much wasted money and resources," a third added.
One person who grew up in the west said "the destruction of trees is nothing new" and to this day he still doesn't understand "why so many people in the west hate trees."
"Every time the council attempted to plant trees in parks or on nature strips, people would pull them out, tear them down, run over them," he said on Reddit.
"And it’s not necessarily thugs. It's the little old grandmas and grandpas who hate the street trees too."
At this stage, Mr Thorpe believes "it’s a one-off issue."
"I certainly haven’t seen any evidence of this being widespread," he added.
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