A young tree is thought to have been ripped apart by drunken thugs who left more than six bags of empty beer cans and vodka bottles around benches on Spalding riverbank over the weekend, crushing hopes for the town’s East Midlands In Bloom bid.
The tree was found lying across the cycle path by volunteers Sandra and Tony White, who were horrified when they arrived for their daily dawn clean-up sessions yesterday morning.
Sandra said: “Why do people do this? It’s just mindless vandalism.
“We picked up six bags of empty beer cans and vodka bottles this morning. They were brimming out of the waste bins and some were left on the top.
“The council workers hate Monday mornings because they know what to expect. But this is the worse it has been.
“What would the East Midlands in Bloom judges say if they saw it like like this? It’s just over a week before they come and if we stand a chance it needs sorting.”
Sandra and Tony have been working with South Holland district councillor Gary Taylor over the past few weeks to get the riverbank looking smart, by targeting graffiti, weeding the borders and litter picking.
Coun Taylor, who funded the gravelling of some borders along the riverbank, was disappointed people were not taking more pride in the area.
He said: “We have about a dozen volunteers now working in the area to make it look nice who are the town’s unsung heroes.
“But when mindless acts of vandalism like this happen and spoil all of their hard work we worry we will lose them.
“The work along the riverbank is being noticed – I’ve just had an email from someone who has been holidaying in Tenerife and has come back and seen the difference.
“It’s such an important area of town for people visiting, but if parts of it are destroyed it will be the taxpayers who foot the bill.”
Phil Scarlett, president of the Spalding and District Chamber of Trade and Commerce, has made a plea to residents to take more pride in the town and do their bit to impress East Midlands in Bloom judges when they tour the town on Friday, July 18.
He said: “It’s very easy to go around blinkered and not see the areas that need tidying.
“But if you take the blinkers off and imagine the town through visitors’ eyes you see what needs doing.
“I’ve started going around and picking up cans and crisp packets.
“All it needs is for us all to do our bit to make a real difference.”
The In Bloom team will take judges on a three-mile tour of the town, taking in the hanging baskets in the centre, a community garden project at Ayscoughfee Hall and the winner of the best front garden competition, supported by the Free Press and Spalding Guardian.
Police regularly patrol the riverbank and monitor street drinking as part of Operation Trunk. Anyone who sees acts of vandalism taking place or street drinking in the town centre should call police on 101.