Reward offer

By Zoe McMaugh

Deniliquin businessman Lester Wheatley has offered a reward for information regarding the damage to a row of newly planted trees at the south entrance to the town.

Mr Wheatley said he was disgusted to see the damage on his drive into town on Monday.

He has agreed to pay a reward of $500 out of his own pocket for information that leads police to the responsible vandal or vandals.

‘‘The weekend’s damage comes just two weeks after I reported damage to trees in the same area,’’ Mr Wheatley said.

‘‘This needs to stop, because how can we ever get ahead in our plans to make this town better if we have this type of wilful destruction going on?

‘‘It is disgraceful behaviour, and I just felt I had to try and do something as a concerned ratepayer.’’

The young trees line both sides of Crispe St between Lawson Syphon Rd and Sloane St. The damage appears to be concentrated in the Sloane St area.

The trees were planted in early April as a part of a program to beautify Deniliquin’s entrances.

Edward River Council was able to plant the trees with the help of drought funding, and as part of the program the avenue of trees will continue along Crispe St.

Each tree costs about $150, and Mayor Norm Brennan said the damage now means council has to find an additional $1500 to repair or replace them.

‘‘Council has reported it to Deniliquin Police who are happy to pursue the issue,’’ Cr Brennan said.

‘‘We are trying to get things back to where we think they should be, so it is disappointing to see these efforts damaged.

‘‘There are obviously individuals who are not happy, and instead of coming to talk to council they have used the cloak of darkness to damage the trees. 

‘‘Our door is always open, so come and talk to us’’

Deniliquin Police Detective Inspector Jy Brown said police are aware people have been ‘‘breaking the trees off’’ from the ground.

‘‘We are looking into this,’’ he said.

‘‘Let us know of any information and we will catch those responsible.

‘‘It’s bitterly disappointing that the council has worked so hard to beautify the town and there are people ruining that with this behaviour.

‘‘We will take action and when we catch the people responsible, we will be seeking compensation through the court for council.’’

Anyone with information is asked to contact police on 5881 9299 or CrimeStoppers on 1800 333 000.