Trees across Dorset have been deliberately poisoned an apparent bid to kill them.
Dorset Council said police had been informed of the sabotage, which it said appeared to have been carried out by a culprit who wanted the trees removed,
The poisoning is illegal and also risks damaging property or even killing people by causing trees’ to become unstable, collapse or drop branches.
Incidents have been spotted in areas more than 50 miles apart including Weymouth, Bridport, Lyme Regis, Sherborne, Corfe Mullen, Alderholt, Sturminster Marshall and Blandford.
“On each occasion, the culprit appears to be trying to poison and kill the tree so that it will have to be removed,” the council said.
“Dorset Police have been informed of all the locations where such vandalism has been found, and they and the council will monitor these sites for further activity.”
The council said it would take anyone caught deliberately damaging trees to court where they are likely to face a large fine and a possible criminal record.
Councillor Ray Bryan, Dorset Council’s portfolio holder for highways, travel and environment, said: “This indiscriminate and selfish action is putting others at risk. It’s one thing to attempt to kill a healthy tree for personal benefit, but quite another to endanger people and property while doing so.
“There must be local residents who have seen and/or can identify the culprits and we would welcome any information which would enable us to pursue prosecutions.”
Dorset Council asked that anyone with any information that could assist its investigation to contact them at [email protected]