Axe-wielding thieves target Bodham Wood

A wood popular with walkers has been targeted by thieves cutting down healthy trees, it is claimed.

Visitors to Bodham Wood, between Sheringham and Bodham, have noticed stumps left by the thieves in recent weeks.

Now the parish council is asking them to be vigilant and to report any suspicious activity.

Ken Ellis, 69, has lived at High Kelling for four years since he retired as a restaurateur in Devon, and he visits the forest daily.

'I've been walking around there twice a day for the last four years,' he said. 'All of a sudden this year trees have vanished.

'If it goes on, in 10 years there won't be anything left.

'All they're doing is stripping the tree down and taking the best of the wood for [the] fire, or whatever. You never see anybody doing it.

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'When you get to the far side of the woods you can see where they've really had a go at them this year.

'You can see people have attacked them: you can see the fresh sawdust everywhere.�

He added: 'It's a smashing wood. In the summer you get toadstools and all sorts of various-coloured bracken.'

Mr Ellis has written to Bodham Parish Council to ask what can be done.

The wood is owned by the parish but is run and managed by the Forestry Commission.

Parish clerk Barbara Emery said she had received several complaints about trees being felled since Christmas. 'We're a bit worried as a parish council, but we can't do much about it: our hands are tied,' she said.

'I would be happy to receive any reports of trees being cut down supposedly illegally, but people have to be careful not to approach somebody cutting trees down because you don't know what could happen.

'It's not a managed wood, but it is a great wood and it's nice for people to walk through. The trees are precious,' she added.

'It's quite a serious matter when people choose to lop good young trees, which is what they're doing. It's tantamount to stealing.'

She urged anyone who had seen suspicious activity in the wood to contact her on 01263 822705.