Vandals target community project

A wooden sculpture of a dog which had been made and donated by a Portlethen resident was destroyed.
A wooden sculpture of a dog which had been made and donated by a Portlethen resident was destroyed.

A nature reserve in Portlethen which is run by volunteers and which is home to a varied range of wildlife has been targeted by vandals.

The damage is thought to have been done towards the end of last week as well as late on Saturday night.

Denise Martin, who is the Chair of the Portlethen Moss Conservation Group, said: “Two of our wooden sculptures were vandalised during the week and the stand for one sculpture along with some tree stakes were used as a bonfire on Saturday night. The group of individuals also left over 20 empty beer bottles at the site.”

The woodland was created by the Portlethen Moss Conservation Group in partnership with Aberdeenshire Council with the help of local school children and members of the community.

All of the money raised to create this site was done so by the group in partnership with the council, and no government funding was provided.

Denise said: “Our major funding sources have been donations from Talisman and The Forestry Commission. We’ve all worked tirelessly and continuously for several years now to raise these funds and create this wonderful environmental resource for the benefit of the community.

“It’s very much a community project therefore this act of vandalism has been committed against our group and the community of Portlethen and not the local authority. Local children are upset by the damage to their much loved wooden sculptures, which were a gift to us by a local resident who spent many hours creating them for us.

“We’ve reported this to the local police so they’re aware of the crime that’s been committed. Many people have spoken to me since of their dismay at what’s happened, so people will be vigilant from now on and report anything they see that looks suspicious to the police.

“We’ve been very fortunate so far not have had any vandalism as such. We hope it’s a one-off incident as there is also wooden play equipment on the site that was purchased by the group from our own funds and we’d be devastated if it was targeted next.

The woodland was created from a disused agricultural field. The group sent a proposal to Aberdeenshire Council back in 2006 with an aspiration to turn it into much needed green space and community woodland.

The local council supported the scheme and plans were put in place soon after with the first of the tree planting events commencing in 2010.