Dorset County Council has hit out at the ‘mindless’ vandals who carried out the ‘pointless’ destruction of five young lime trees just outside Dorchester.

The trees were planted three years ago in a project supported by charities and were maintained by the county council and volunteers.

During the last week, five of the trees have been snapped off at the base, meaning the council will have to replant and nurture new trees to keep the avenue complete.

A total of 75 lime trees were planted in 2007 on the B3147 Yeovil Road near Loders Garage as part of a project to enhance the entrance in to Dorchester.

The work was done by the county council together with the Dorchester Civic Society, the Duchy of Cornwall and Trees for Dorset, previously known as the Dorset branch of the International Tree Foundation.

The council’s arboricultural manager Steve Maros said: “These trees have been maturing into beautiful specimens.

“But sadly their benefit has been seriously undermined by the mindless vandalism carried out by one or more persons.

“It is a totally pointless waste of lovely trees, as well as public money.”

Chairman of Trees for Dorset Rachel Palmer described the destruction of the trees as a ‘huge shame’.

Dorset County Council has promised to take legal action against anyone caught destroying the trees and urges anyone who witnesses any damage to contact 01305 228159.

Inspector Les Fry of Dorchester Police condemned the vandals and also urged any witnesses to contact the police on 01305 222222.