The incident is believed to have taken place between Thursday 13 and Friday 14 October in the tree-lined avenue of St James’ Church, Bowland Forest – estimated to have been planted in 1888.

Damage was also caused to two other ancient trees during the axe attack, said United Utilities rangers, who own the land. It is thought the tree was taken for firewood.

United Utilities woodland project officer Steven Highley, said: “These sycamore trees have stood on this site for over 120 years.

“It is absolutely shocking to see what lengths some people will go to. Sadly, I suspect the wood from the trees was stolen just for firewood. It’s such a waste.”

Water bosses from United Utilities said that if members of the public want to contact them anonymously with information about crime or vandalism on the Bowland Estate it would be passed on to police.

“We are appealing for any information regarding this incident and would encourage visitors to the area to report any suspicious activities to us or contact the local police”, said Mr Highley.

As well, people can call United Utilities’ Rangers on 01200 454400, or their local police.

Carys Matthews

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