Tree-killer spoils chances of sprucing up Pagham pond

A tree killer has hit the chances of sprucing up Pagham's much-loved duck pond.

The individual recently poisoned two golden weeping willows which were planted at the pond last winter after a request from the pond's warden.

The destruction of the trees has led West Sussex County Council to decide against any further planting in the area unless an individual is prosecuted for the criminal act.

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It has also become more reluctant to carry out further plantings at the beauty spot between Sussex Drive and Church Way.

Pagham Parish Council clerk Chris Braby said: "This incident could not have happened at a worse time.

"We have recently been approached by a 16-year-old who requested our consent to organise the local youth club to do a pond clean-up and to carry out repairs to the banking which is crumbling away.

"We were all very impressed this lad had the initiative to attend one of our highways and amenities meetings to discuss his plans with us."

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Two parish councillors toured the pond with him and agreed to put some proposals to the county council, which is responsible for the pond area.

"I can't see the county council being too keen to fund anything now," said Mr Braby.

"It's a real shame because the majority of Pagham's residents see the duck pond as a much-valued asset.

"Hopefully, what has happened will alert those living close by to keep an eye on what's going on there."

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He received the news about the trees' destruction from county council highways officer Mark Warwick.

"It seems clear to our operatives the trees were poisoned," stated Mr Warwick, "although we do not know what substance was used or when precisely this occurred.

"We must hope there is no long-term soil contamination issue and/ or impact on the aquatic life.

"Needless to say, this is a serious issue from both environmental and community perspectives as well as being a criminal offence.

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"The trees were purchased and planted at a cost of about 200."

The killing could have been carried out by a disgruntled resident, he suggested.

He added: "What is particularly frustrating is these trees could easily have been transplanted to an alternative location at minimal cost to ourselves."

The county council would be very cautious about further plantings at the pond.

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