Vandals have wrecked 22 trees planted especially to make cricket bats with at a wildlife reserve in Nottinghamshire.

Staff and volunteers at Nottinghamshire Wildlife Trust have been left angry and frustrated following two incidents of vandalism, in which the cricket bat willows were snapped off.

The trees, a special variety grown specifically to produce timber for cricket bats, were planted as a landscape feature along the drive to the Idle Valley Nature Reserve, off North Road, in Retford.

It was hoped the trees would also act as a long-term investment for the charity which has previously sold timber to make high-quality cricket bats.

Speaking about the incidents, the latest of which took place last week, head of communications Erin McDaid said: “We were very excited to plant the cricket bat willows last April and this was only possible thanks to our partnership with Park Plaza Hotels and Resorts and Oaks Restaurant.

“Their support enabled us to create a great new landscape feature and an opportunity to generate income from the sale of timber in the future.

“The vandalism we’ve seen in recent weeks means that around £400 worth of trees have been ruined, and with the time and effort taken in planting them and specialist pruning we estimate that the cost of the damage is at least £1,000.

“We’re determined to replant the trees at some stage but it would probably have to wait until next year now, meaning we’ll have lost two years of growth and may now lose the opportunity of future income running into thousands of pounds.”

The trust has said the trees may be irreplaceable, but asked anyone able to contribute towards new saplings to make a donation to the charity.

The vandalism has been reported to the police and anyone with any information about who might be responsible should call 111 or Crimestoppers.