VANDALS who are burning trees in Craigton Woods are putting people’s lives in danger, it has been claimed.
Landowner Keith Lawrence is bracing himself for a bill from East Dunbartonshire Council after firefighters were called out to a blaze at the woods at the end of August.
The council employed a specialist company to remove the tree which had been burned out and traffic management had to be put in place while this work was carried out.
Mr Lawrence claims there is a continual problem with youngsters using the woods as a drinking den and other forms of unacceptable behaviour.
A few years ago a young girl was seriously injured while walking along the pavement next to the woods when a tree fell on her head. On examination it was discovered that this tree had been weakened by continuous acts of vandalism, causing it to fall.
He said: “The condition of the woods is becoming increasingly affected by vandalism and anti-social behaviour.
“All the evidence is there as the area is littered with empty alcohol bottles, beer cans, crisp packets and fast-food packaging.
“The tree that had to be cut down had been burned several times.
“When you walk through you can usually smell the results of fire from some trees because it’s happening all the time.
“Lots of the trees are dead and damaged.
“It’s quite remote and we need to find a sustainable solution to prevent this problem.”
He added: “My main concern is for people’s safety.
“I’m worried that we are going to have another major incident.
“Many children walk past to the school and people walk their dogs there – it’s also next to a main road.”
Mr Lawrence removed several trees at the beginning of the year which had fallen across paths or were hanging precariously over public rights of way.
They were already dead, diseased or had been vandalised – burned at the base of the trunk – which had made them weaker.
When the gale force winds hit the area the vulnerable trees fell.
Mr Lawrence added: “We have been involved in ongoing discussions for many years with officials and Mains Estate Residents’ Association about the woods in an attempt to find a sustainable solution that will be of benefit to all concerned.
“The problems are becoming worse as the deterioration in the woods continues and recent trends in the weather have highlighted this and will continue to do so.
“We will continue to work towards a solution that will make the area a safe and enjoyable amenity for residents and other users.”