THE Dalgety Bay Community Woodlands Group has appealed for the help of the public in stopping trees being chopped down illegally.

Trees have been cut down in Hopeward Wood without the permission of the local community council, who own the land.

Group chairperson David MacLeod said: "We urgently need to get useable evidence of the person(s) responsible in order to report the matter to the council and the police. Only if the culprits can be identified and action taken can more trees be saved from this kind of wanton destruction.

"Hopeward Wood is one of the ancient woodland areas in Dalgety Bay that dates back at least to the late 1700s and, for this woodland, probably to a very much earlier date," he explained.

"With the recently-upgraded coastal path going through it, this woodland is an important part of a walking route that all the people of Dalgety Bay, as well as visitors from other parts of the world, can enjoy.

"There is much evidence that walking through natural wooded areas can significantly improve health and wellbeing. All in the community who enjoy this woodland must try to prevent this kind of destruction continuing otherwise we will see a continuing loss of areas of natural beauty with such much-needed benefits for people and wildlife.

"It is ironic that, as this destruction is taking place, elsewhere in our woodlands work is under way to enable Donibristle Primary School Primary 7 classes to plant a good number of additional young oak trees grown from acorns collected elsewhere in Scotland and generously donated by one of our supporters."

The issue is to be raised at the group's committee meeting this week when members will decide how to tackle the issue.

"It is a major problem as far as we are concerned," added Mr MacLeod. "They are damaging trees and the environment and it takes time for them to grow again. We need to assess the damage and its long-term effect on the environment.

"We also need to check the trees to see if they are ones covered by tree protection orders. We might have to get an expert in to see if the damage can be recovered. It can sometimes cause disease when you have got a damaged tree so it is all the extra work when we could be out at appropriate times planting wild flowers and maintaining a proper regime of pruning back."

Anyone with any information on the vandalism is asked to get in touch with the group by leaving a message on their Facebook site or emailing