Plymouth park trees 'felled in fuel hunt'

Image caption The city council has asked people to report tree fellers

Wood burner owners on the hunt for fuel are suspected of chopping down trees in a city park.

Plymouth City Council says about 15 trees have been cut down in the Central Park.

Grounds workers think demand for wood to supply an increasing number of wood burners could be behind the thefts.

The council said the felling was a danger to users and has asked people to report any suspicious behaviour to police.

Grounds manager Gareth Harrison-Poole, said a number of trees in the 188-acre park had been partially felled, threatening children playing underneath.

The worst-hit area was around a former reservoir near Peverell Park Road.

Many of the trees were young, allowing them to be carried away.

Image caption Fallen trees have left a scar on parts of Central Park

"We suspect opportunists looking for cheap wood burner fuel are to blame," he said.

Richard Simpson, of Plymouth-based South West Fires and Flues, said the firm installed about 600 wood burners in the city area last year, a 400% increase in the last five years.

"It's driven by hikes in gas and electric prices, but now the price of logs has gone up too so people are trying to resource their wood where they can," he said.

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