A RESIDENT has raised concerns over tree maintenance being outsourced to probation teams.

John Gealy, 43, of Little Chapels Way, Slough, who has previously worked with tree surgeons, said that he had witnessed the offenders attempting to prune oak trees in the meadows next to his address whilst under the supervision of a member of the Slough Borough Council parks team.

Mr Gealy said: “They are not qualified to be doing this type of work. There’s a high risk of damage or disease, they don’t know what they are doing. I would expect the council to employ real tree surgeons to care for trees on their land, but they are bringing in youth offenders to do it for free.

“These trees were planted over 20 years ago to minimise the impact of urban sprawl, and were starting to take shape.

“There’s only a few oak trees in the area, and the few we have, they seem to be destroying. It doesn’t seem right. They didn’t even need pruning, really - it was just work for the sake of work.”

Mr Gealy said this was not the only incident that had raised his concerns: “This is not an isolated incident, they have done this a number of times.

“They came to Deerwood Park to prune trees, during nesting season. They are causing all sorts of damage to the wildlife there.”

A spokeswoman for the council said: “We have community payback workers who carry out supervised work in Slough weekly.

“In Little Chapels Way they have been cutting into thick vegetation to remove litter.

“This job is currently half finished and will be completed in the next fortnight.

“We are always conscious of wildlife and we leave areas uncut for them.

“Deerwood Park is a very good environmental area and we have started to form a fence made of Pollard willow branches, which will provide a haven for wildlife.