ISS tree team averts danger to public after vandals attack 30m-high oak with chainsaw

Vandals who cut three-quarters of the way through a 150-year-old tree prompted a lightning-fast swoop by a landscape contractor to stop a potential accident.

ISS Facility Services Landscaping swooped into action at Town Centre Memorial Gardens in Maryport, Cumbria, within minutes of a call out last week after following the chainsaw attack on the 30m-high oak. It was worth around £200,000.

Police and Allerdale Borough Council sealed off the area fearing the tottering tree could topple into the path of cars or pedestrians. The ISS team felled the tree within the restricted space and in the only direction that would not cause damage to the gardens.

Managing director Phil Jones said: "The team did an incredible job within an exceptionally short space of time. The safe and precision felling demonstrates their skills and the importance of training and commitment to develop employees." 

ISS has been delivering grounds maintenance to Allerdale Borough Council under a fourteen year partnership agreement since 2003, which includes the emergency callout provision. Within two hours of the original call the team had wedged and felled the tree.

Chainsaw operators then cut the tree into manageable sizes, chipping the branches and smaller limbs on site to be re-used as mulch, and recycling the main trunk as timber locally.

Police are continuing to hunt for the vandals, who also felled a smaller seven 7m-high cherry tree in the Memorial Gardens. 

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