An opportunistic vandal has taken advantage of last week's foul weather to fell a gum tree growing on public land.
The amateur arborist took a chainsaw to the tree on council land in Whitianga under cover of the storms that battered Coromandel.
"We received a call from a customer about trees being blown over in our Buffalo Beach Reserve, in Whitianga, however when we checked it out it was clear to see that it had been cut down," said Andrew Scobie, acting area manager for Mercury Bay.
"Our local arborist informs us that the damage was done with a handsaw and the vandal has tried to make it look like they were damaged in the storm," Scobie said. "It's extremely saddening to see such a wilful act of vandalism."
A complaint of wilful damage has been lodged with police.
Tree vandalism is on the rise in the area, Scobie said. Three manuka in a council reserve in Wyuna Bay were felled recently, and a 30-year-old Norfolk pine was poisoned on Buffalo Beach this year.
"We want to make it clear such behaviour is not going to be ignored," Scobie said.
Anyone with information on the felled gum tree is asked to contact the police.