Locals in a Surrey town are hunting for a 'chainsaw maniac' who chopped down more than a dozen trees in a spate of random attacks.
Police are investigating after a whole range of trees were hacked down in Walton-on-Thames at the end of last month.
The 'victims' in the area of outstanding natural beauty include huge trees by busy roads, walkways and along the banks of the River Thames, with just stumps left behind.
Concerned locals have now set up a Facebook group in a bid to try and track down the person or group responsible, who they say may also have felled trees in nearby Weybridge.
One resident wrote on the Elmbridge Tree Patrol group: "As you all know there's a maniac going around Weybridge, Walton on Thames and Cobham chopping down trees ruining the environment, ecosystem, habitats and making everyone upset."
Cameron Flynn, who set up the group, said: "There were two trees that were chopped down at the end of my road last week. It's such a sad sight.
"The person or people who did this are absolutely disgusting. There's just no reason for it, it doesn't make any sense, they're not selling the wood, they're just leaving them, it's just mindless vandalism.
"Some of these trees are very old - it's like vandalising a gravestone. It's heart-breaking to see it happen on my doorstep."
A series of pictures posted on social media show the extent of damage done to trees in the town, with some large trees' trunks sawn clean through leaving just a stump, while others have been completely chopped down with their felled branches left lying on the ground.
One even shows that a remaining stump left by the vandal was cut down again after residents put a notice about the spree of vandalism on the stricken tree.
Surrey Police have launched an investigation and are appealing for information.
Elmbridge Borough Commander Inspector Bert Dean said: "I do not underestimate the impact this mindless damage has on the local community as well as the risk it has posed to motorists by obstructing roads.
"We are looking at every opportunity to identify who is responsible for this and will continue to work closely with Elmbridge Borough Council to tackle this issue."
Investigators said they received the first report on March 28 and since then Surrey Police and Elmbridge Borough Council have identified at least 20 other instances of trees being cut down in Walton and Weybridge.
A spokeswoman for the force added: "This is concerning to both Surrey Police, Elmbridge Borough Council and residents.
"We would like to reassure the local community that we are following up all relevant information and the investigation remains ongoing.
"Patrols will also be carried out in the areas which have been targeted."
Cllr Christine Elmer, cabinet member for corporate and community development at Elmbridge Borough Council, said the felling of at least 20 trees caused "upset and distress" in the towns of Walton-on-Thames and Weybridge.
She added: "It’s incredibly sad that someone would want to go around doing this.
"I simply can’t understand why they would do this, causing so much upset and distress, it’s destructive. It is also very dangerous.
"We are very proud of our Green Borough. It’s the bird nesting season so goodness what else damage is being caused by this act of vandalism."
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