Vandals have destroyed three newly-planted crepe myrtle trees on Caledonia Street, Kearsley.
The incident occurred on Monday night, when it is believed the trees were run down by a vehicle.
It has been met with utter disappointment by Cessnock City Council, which planted the trees at Jeffery Park as part of a larger project to install new information bays and signage in prominent locations across the city.
The Kearsley project also includes a new carpark, turf, signage and fencing around the playground.
The new trees, at $600 each, were chosen as they were mature, would take quickly, grow successfully and fit in with the other crepe myrtles flowering across the region.
Three more trees were due to be planted on the other side of the driveway, but now these will be used to replace the ones that were destroyed.
Council will also install tree guards to protect the new trees, at a cost of $1500, which will come out of the budget for the project.
Cessnock mayor Bob Pynsent said he was disgusted with this destructive behaviour and it saddened him that vandals continue to ruin things for the rest of the community.
“This project is such a positive one for our residents and visitors and it is an absolute disgrace that people can have such little respect for what we’re trying to achieve as a community,” he said.
“This is a facility we should be proud of and one residents can show off to their visiting family and friends.
“We need to stamp this out as it’s an ongoing problem in our community, so if you ever see or hear anything about vandalism, I encourage you to report it straight away.”
Anyone with information about this incident should call Cessnock Police on 4991 0199 or Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000.