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Vandals wreak havoc at orchard

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By Fiona Reid
Dumfries and West

VANDALS have rampaged through a community orchard aimed at providing food for the needy in North West Dumfries.

The orchard launched by The People’s Project in Lincluden last autumn also helped mark the centenary of World War I – but has seen fruit trees damaged and commemorative poppies pulled from the ground.
People’s Project chairman Mark Jardine said: “It’s a bit of a blow because of what it was for.
“It was there to commemorate those who effectively gave us our freedom.”
Attributing the actions to young people seen in the area, and following a spate of vandalisms in Lincluden, he added: “They’ve damaged quite a number of trees, broken branches, twisted them off, and all that does is to prevent fruit going to the very poor and needy that need it.
“So it’s a bit of a shame, all round.”
The People’s Project secured £7500 towards the project, and last November more than 60 volunteers helped plant 150 apple, pear and plum trees.
Last week Mark’s wife Ruth and volunteer Matt Kerr erected a rabbit fence at the orchard, as teenagers standing on top of the nearby Lincluden Abbey looked on.
Mark said: “Matt had gone up to plant more poppies on Tuesday morning, and apparently they’d used wire cutters to cut the fence right through and then they’d jumped on top of it to bring it down – broken some of the posts and pulled every poppy out. They’ll just wither and die.”
Matt spend two days this week replanting the poppies, although Mark is doubtful whether they will survive.
Having already replanted 30 to 40 trees vandalised in the spring, a dispirited Mark said: “We won’t be doing that again. We’ve decided – we can’t do any more on it.”
He added: “If it was the autumn I think I’d dig them up and put them in a new site and just say, ‘To hell with this’.
“But I’m hoping that the people of Lochside and Lincluden will realise this is to help their very own needy people – that’s the whole point of it.”
Lincluden was hit in recent weeks by the destruction of a disabled access bridge at nearby Popeye’s Park constructed two years ago at a cost of £60,000 was set on fire.
Anyone with information about the vandalism at the orchard is asked to contact the Police Scotland non-emergency number 101.

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