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Appeal for information after community woodland targeted by thieves and vandals

PUBLISHED: 14:52 12 October 2012

A community woodland that is run by volunteers has been targeted by vandals for the second time in less than a year.

Hundreds of pounds worth of damage was caused at Pigneys Wood in Knapton, near North Walsham, following the wrecking spree earlier this month.

The reed screen wall of the ‘Old Barn’ shelter was removed and burned inside the structure along with one of the picnic tables and a footpath sign.

A tent was also recovered at the site and removed by the police for investigation.

A further inspection of the woodland revealed a small tool shed had been broken into and all the power tools stolen, including grass cutters, strimmers, hedge cutters, litter pickers and fuel cans.

Police are not linking the two incidents. The tools hadn’t been used since September 22 and could have been stolen at any time. Peter Kaye, of Pigneys Wood, said: “All in all, the cost of repairs and replacement of the items stolen or damaged is estimated to be in excess of £2,300. Needless to say, the absence of tools will seriously impact on our ability to maintain footpaths and trails in the wood, at least, for the immediate future. The public will have to bear with us on this.”

It is believed the fire was started some time between 7pm on Friday, October 5 and 8.30am on Sunday, October 7.

The tools are thought to have been stolen between Saturday, September 22 and Monday, October 8.

Police in North Walsham are now appealing for information about the two incidents.

Anyone with any information is asked to contact PC Emma Hill at North Walsham police station on 101 or call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

The nature reserve, which is run by a community trust, was also hit by vandals in February, when two single pole barriers adjacent to the car park and the reed weather screen on the Old Barn were damaged.

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