Phil Salter next to the damaged tree in St Mawes. 1009JR02903tree
A PROTECTED tree, planted for the Queen's Silver Jubilee, is to be cut down after being vandalised.
The commemorative beech in St Mawes was found dying after vandals hammered dozens of copper nails into its base.
St Just-In-Roseland parish councillor Phil Salter believed the act may have been an anti-royalist statement.
He noticed the mature 30ft tree on Hillhead was dying and thought it was suffocating.
Mr Salter said: "I can see it through my bedroom window and a few of the branches looked like they were dying."
On Monday, tree surgeon Conrad Birnie discovered the nails hammered deep in to the wood all around the tree's base.
Mr Salter, who remembers when the tree was planted in 1977, described the act as shocking. The councillor, who lives yards from the tree, said: "It's a pretty miserable thing for anyone to do."
About 25 per cent of the tree was lopped off in 2006 after a request from neighbours, following complaints it was ruining picturesque views of St Mawes Harbour.
Police are treating the attack as criminal damage and council officers have launched an official investigation.
Cornwall Council tree expert Simon Proctor, who said the tree played an important part in the history of the village, added: "It must have been an awful lot of nails to kill it."
The tree, which stands in a conservation area on parish council-owned land, will be removed and replaced.
Parish clerk Shirley Penhaligon said: "It's an insult to the community. People I have spoken to have been absolutely devastated.
This is something which just doesn't happen in our village."
Anyone with any information is asked to contact police on 0845 2777444 quoting crime reference number GE/10/231.