The heartbroken chairwoman of a woodland friends group has stepped down after quad bike yobs churned up trees in honour of fallen soldiers, just hours after they were planted on Armistice Day.
Jacqui Yates, of the Friends of Fryston Woods, said she was too upset to continue with the memorial project following the vandalism this week.
Volunteers and schoolchildren from Castleford’s Oyster Park Primary had spent hours on Friday and Saturday planting 400 saplings in tribute to local people who lost their lives during the First World War.
The trees were being re-planted ahead of Remembrance Sunday after the group’s first effort to create a memorial woodland in March was also destroyed by vandals, a month after planting finished.
Mrs Yates said: “It has left me completely gutted. I don’t think we will be doing a memorial wood at all now.
“Another of the group’s members has resigned because he’s that upset.
“All the group are devastated and I just don’t know how the children at Oyster Park will take the news.”
She added: “For such destruction to happen again and for it to be over Remembrance weekend is just beyond a joke. It’s gutting.”
Police are appealing for people to come forward with information about the incident, which occurred at land off Derwent Drive, in Castleford.
Sergeant Angela Denison of the Castleford Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “This is a shocking offence and those responsible should hang their heads in shame at their incredibly destructive and disrespectful actions.
“We are well aware that this is the second act of vandalism at this memorial this year and for it to be committed on Remembrance Sunday, only hours after the saplings were planted, beggars belief.
“I would ask anyone in the local community who has information about these offences or who has perhaps knows the identity of quad bike riders who regularly use this site to contact us.”
Details can be passed on to police by calling 101, quoting reference 13170528861 or by calling Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.