A lost cellphone may end up costing a Napier teenager more than he would have bargained for after it ended up in police hands.
It was found near a spread of vandalised small trees at Anderson Park yesterday morning.
Ten trees planted on the western side of Anderson Park as part of ongoing beautification programmes were left either snapped off at the base or pushed over and partially uprooted.
Three of the trees were left shattered and shredded by the vandals who struck late on Wednesday night.
The damage was spotted by a resident nearby who contacted police.
A cellphone found near one of the trees was handed in to police - who received a call on it yesterday morning.
"He rang the number and he was surprised I had it," one of the officers alerted to the damage said.
"I said you better come in and we'll have a talk."
The 16-year-old did just that and as a result admitted he had damaged some of the trees.
He had been returning to a house near Anderson Park between midnight and 1am, with two other teenagers, when he said he took to some of the young trees.
The other two were also being spoken to.
"He is going to inform his mum to what happened and we will be speaking to the parents - we will be seeking reparation for the damage."
Police said they had also spoken to a "good witness" who had seen the group of teens going into a nearby house - that house turned out to be where the boys had been visiting earlier in the night.
Police said while the incident would be passed to Youth Aid, because of their ages, no decision had been made at this time whether they would be formally charged.
The boys had no previous police records.
"It was just a silly thing to do."
Hitting them for reparation, which could cost hundreds of dollars, could serve as a strong warning, the officer said.
One man strolling through the area early yesterday said he walked the Anderson Park pathways every day.
"Because it's such a nice looking spot and this is the first time I've seen something like this - it's a real shame."
For Napier City Council parks and reserves staff the latest attacks were upsetting and frustrating.
One staffer who visited the site to assess the damage said vandalism of plants and trees was an "ongoing problem" in the city and only recently several trees along nearby streets had also been damaged.
It could cost up to $100 to replace a tree.
Some of those left, which were either snapped off or pushed over, had only been in the ground for a year.