Vandals in Napier sawed down seven norfolk pine trees before trying to dump them in the ocean.
A Napier City Council staff member noticed a gap in the pines that line State Highway 2 yesterday morning.
Reserves manager Tony Billing said vandals had cut down seven healthy 9-year-old pines, which covered a 200-metre area along Beach Domain, south of Napier's Marine Pde.
Mr Billing believed the vandals cut the trees down under the cover of darkness, dragged them more than 100 metres to the water and tried to throw them in the sea.
However, the tide washed them back up, leaving the tree tops strewn over the beach.
It was yet to be determined whether it was an attempt to improve the views from nearby properties or just wilful vandalism. The matter is being referred to the police, Mr Billing said.
Mayor Barbara Arnott said the trees planted by Keep Napier Beautiful had matured after years of struggling in the harsh environment.
''It is devastating to see the results of people's criminal actions,'' she said.
The council would like to hear from anyone with information. The area will be replanted.
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