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Tree-poisoner mystery is probed by super sleuths

PUBLISHED: 17:56 26 June 2018 | UPDATED: 13:57 28 June 2018

Youngsters from Ilketshall St Lawrence Primary School investigate the recent tree poisoning at Koolunga House, Gorleston.

Picture: Nick Butcher

Youngsters from Ilketshall St Lawrence Primary School investigate the recent tree poisoning at Koolunga House, Gorleston. Picture: Nick Butcher

Archant © 2018

It was the kind of headline that jumped out of the paper and grabbed their imaginations.

Youngsters from Ilketshall St Lawrence Primary School investigate the recent tree poisoning at Koolunga House, Gorleston  Picture: Nick ButcherYoungsters from Ilketshall St Lawrence Primary School investigate the recent tree poisoning at Koolunga House, Gorleston Picture: Nick Butcher

That a tree poisoner was on the loose and had struck again was the stuff that mini detectives dreamed of.

And for a group of primary school children there was only one thing to do - rush to the scene and comb it for clues.

A class of super-sleuths turned up at Koolunga House in Gorleston to find out what they could about the dastardly crime that has lead to the sad and slow demise of eight mature trees, some of which are up to 200 years old.

The youngsters from Ilketshall St Lawrence Primary School, near Bungay, had read about the shocking attacks in a school’s publication First News, after it was first reported in this newspaper.

Youngsters from Ilketshall St Lawrence Primary School investigate the recent tree poisoning at Koolunga House, Gorleston.
Imogen Barrett and Oliver Wilson looking at the poisoned tree's with Robert Smith.
Picture: Nick ButcherYoungsters from Ilketshall St Lawrence Primary School investigate the recent tree poisoning at Koolunga House, Gorleston. Imogen Barrett and Oliver Wilson looking at the poisoned tree's with Robert Smith. Picture: Nick Butcher

Realising that Gorleston was fairly near they went one step further and wrote to the owner Robert Smith requesting a visit.

Mr Smith, who owns five of the seven apartments in the landmark building, said: “I wrote back and said the best time to visit would be in the summer when they could see the trees were not in leaf making the environmental impact easier to explain.

“It is lovely that the younger generation show so much concern for the environment. They have been learning about the history of the house and I have shown them some of the holes that have been drilled to poison the trees.

“The kids have been fantastic and they have asked some brilliant questions that even the police cannot answer like ‘who has done this?’ and ‘what poison have they used?’”

Youngsters from Ilketshall St Lawrence Primary School investigate the recent tree poisoning at Koolunga House, Gorleston.

Picture: Nick ButcherYoungsters from Ilketshall St Lawrence Primary School investigate the recent tree poisoning at Koolunga House, Gorleston. Picture: Nick Butcher

Class teacher Amanda Puxley said the five to seven year olds were totally intrigued by the bizarre whodunnit.

She said the children were really shocked to read about the mystery poisoner and the story developed into a topic.

As well as hearing first hand about the mystery they enjoyed helping in the garden, plotting the stricken trees on a map and a leaf identification task.

They also planted “legacy saplings” from the poisoned trees and Mr Smith gave them some Woodland Trust trees to take back to their school.

Youngsters from Ilketshall St Lawrence Primary School investigate the recent tree poisoning at Koolunga House, Gorleston. 
Picture: Nick ButcherYoungsters from Ilketshall St Lawrence Primary School investigate the recent tree poisoning at Koolunga House, Gorleston. Picture: Nick Butcher

Daisy, aged seven, said the skull and crossbones image with the story caught her attention adding that she woke up at 3am before the visit and was so excited she couldn’t get back to sleep.

Anyone with information about the crime can contact Mr Smith via smithrwj@yahoo.com.

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