A FARMER is fuming a hedge worth £3,000 was stolen from her land.

Kay Lacey, who runs a farm in Chiseldon, blasted thieves who dug up 60 metres of saplings she had recently planted as part of an ecological scheme. 

She has since had to put up with heartless comments from social media trolls after posting details on Facebook.

She told the Adver: “The hedge was planted by a contractor and I’d received confirmation of an ecological hedging and fencing grant from the government, which partially covers the cost of the work. 

"They give these out to improve the countryside and I had been waiting on this all year and the contractor spent a week putting them in, so when we discovered they were taken we were both disheartened about it. It’s very hard labour planting that many.

“£3,000 worth of hedging has gone and that’s excluding the labour. It means we’ve got to order more saplings to replant them. It’s back-breaking labour and the contractor has got to do it all over again.”

The hedge was taken between 4.30pm on Friday. December 11 and 8am on Saturday, December 12 from two areas of Kay's farm along Ladysmith Road and Draycott Road. 

It was made up of a mixture of hawthorn, damson, blackthorn, beech, and others.

“Having them planted promotes insects, wildlife, birds nesting and a food source for wildlife," Kay said. "It wouldn’t have been easy to take them so they must have known what they were doing and what they were worth.

She added: “I posted about it on Facebook and people were trolling me. If it wasn’t bad enough that this has happened, people are also unsympathetic that it’s happened and believe that it’s acceptable.

"It’s really not funny, it’s absolutely devastating. And for the contractor, it could mean he loses out on doing other jobs because he’s helping me replace the saplings.”

There was hedging on the land in the 1980s and Kay wanted to have it replanted to prevent walkers destroying her wildflower meadow. 

She said: “I had a grant for the wildflower meadow which cost £7,000, farming is very expensive and people don’t realise that.

"People were walking over it with their dogs which obviously won’t do it any good, so when this grant came up for the hedge I decided that would be a good way of protecting it.

“The hedging grant will be around £20,000 and this will be handed over from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. But I won’t receive that until I replace the ones that were stolen.

“Myself and another farmer have been checking on the saplings that are still there to make sure no one else is going to come along and take them.”

Kay has reported the incident to her insurance company and Wiltshire Police.

A police spokesman said: “We have received a report that a section of newly-planted hedgerow was dug up and stolen from land in Chiseldon. 

“It is believed to have been taken between 4.30pm on December 11 and 8am on December 12. 

“Anyone with information should call Wiltshire Police on 101 quoting reference 54200123080.”