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Appeal to find Islington tree poisoner

PUBLISHED: 11:51 28 February 2013 | UPDATED: 11:52 28 February 2013

Islington Council officer Grayham Tindal with the tree that was targeted in Thornhilll Bridge Community Gardens. Picture: Dieter Perry

Islington Council officer Grayham Tindal with the tree that was targeted in Thornhilll Bridge Community Gardens. Picture: Dieter Perry

Dieter Perry

Tree officers have issued an appeal for information after a man tried to kill a poplar by drilling holes and pouring in weedkiller.

Islington Council officers want to track down the culprit so they can push for a prosecution for vandalism or criminal damage to the tree in Thornhill Bridge Community Gardens, off Caledonian Road.

The incident was reported by a puzzled resident who was walking past on February 6 when she saw the man at work.

Council officers rushed to the scene and managed to save the tree by flushing out the poison.

They believe the man responsible may be a disgruntled resident of a nearby property that loses light because of the poplar.

James Chambers, Islington Council’s tree service manager, said: “A resident saw a man drilling the base of the tree and when she asked what they were doing, they said the council had told them to do it, which she realised was nonsense.

“The person has drilled four fairly deep holes into the tree and poured in some sort of weedkiller.

“It was clearly done deliberately to kill the tree, by someone with a petty grievance against it. We have reported it to the police because it’s criminal damage, vandalism and anti-social behaviour.

“We’re asking the public for any information they might have on who is responsible.”

Mr Chambers said residents often complain about trees, but it is rare they go to such bizarre lengths.

He added: “Hopefully we have saved it, but we will have to monitor it.

“Fortunately, it’s not that easy to poison a tree in that way.

“If they had succeeded, it could have become dangerous and it costs tax payers money to fix the problem.”

The tree is about 12ft tall and 30 years old.

Emma Dixon, of Islington Green Party, praised the council’s quick action in saving the tree, adding: “It’s shocking to hear of a resident seeking deliberately to kill a tree, at a time when our street trees are under constant threat from pollution, building works, and the changing climate.

“I hope that councillors and the police will now do all in their power to ensure the perpetrator is brought to justice.”

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