A TREE planted by a member of the Royal family outside a Pershore school less than a week ago has been chopped in half by vandals.

The attack on the elm tree planted by the Duke of Gloucester last Wednesday is the latest in a string of acts of vandalism that Cherry Orchard First School has endured in recent weeks.

Headteacher Sarah Bitcon said she had hoped the attacks would stop after about £10,000 was spent on facilities such as football goal posts and fencing giving youths access to part of the playing fields outside school hours.

But despite the positive work, vandals are still attempting to get on to school premises.

“The children will be devastated when they find out about the tree,” said Mrs Bitcon. “They watched the Duke of Gloucester planting it and have called it the Duke tree. It is just senseless.

“It is just another act of vandalism.

“We have put bins, benches and goal posts up there. They have tried to set fire to one of the bins.” On Monday, September 10, staff arrived at the school to discover the school grounds trashed, costing them about £300.

“They had climbed over the fence into the school ground and it looked as if we had had a festival,” said Mrs Bitcon.

“They are abusing the privilege.

“The area has only been open since September. They used to climb in before that.”

Mrs Bitcon said 10 used condoms were discovered on the playing fields.

Jim Burgin, heritage manager at Wychavon District Council, said he thought the attack was discovered four days after the Duke’s visit.

“It was discovered on Sunday. It looks like it has been snapped off.

“It is just such a shame. We may be able to salvage what has been left and transport it somewhere a little bit less obvious.”

Police said if anyone had any information about the vandalism to contact them on non-emergency number 101.