Outrage was sparked after newly-planted trees were snapped in half in a park in Ramsbottom.

Four out of five trees planted in Peel Brow were damaged by vandals and will now not be replaced.

Cllr Alan Quinn, cabinet member for the environment, said: "This is disgraceful.

"What kind of idiot does this?

"A lot of time, effort and money went into planting those trees.

"It's criminal that these trees were damaged just hours after being planted."

They were planted by City of Trees, an initiative which works with the council to create woodlands and orchards, and plant semi-mature trees in parks and greenspaces across the borough.

The project is just one of several from the last planting season, as well as other schemes at Thatch Leach Lane, Whitehead Park and Topping Fold.

Beth Kelsall, delivery coordinator at City of Trees, added: "In March, we worked with a charity called Walking with the Wounded, an organisation that supports ex-servicemen and women, who planted more than 100 sapling trees to extend an area of existing woodland just off Fir Street.

"To complement the new woodland, last week we planted five semi-mature trees - a mixture of Manchurian cherry and cockspur hawthorn - around the playground and community green space.

"It has taken a lot of time and effort for City of Trees staff and colleagues at the council to develop and implement this scheme, and when the cost of purchasing the trees, materials, and their installation are taken into account, it has been argued that it is too much of a risk to try and re-plant them.

"It's such a shame that this has happened, especially for those members of the local community who would have appreciated the trees and the benefits they would have brought to the area."