Cowra Council has reported the vandalism of 80 cherry trees on Sakura Avenue to police after they were cut and snapped over yesterday.
The offence occurred between Sunday evening and Monday morning, according to council.
Police said the offender remains unknown and have asked community members who know anything about the offence to contact them.
Inspector Peter Atkins described the act as unacceptable.
The vandalism coincided with a weekend of events throughout town commemorating the 68th anniversary of the Cowra POW breakout.
“Whether it’s connected to that or not we wouldn’t know but it’s very unfortunate it occurred this time, in particular in relation to the recent memorial service,” Inspector Atkins said.
Cowra Council general manager Paul Devery said the damage was intentional, methodical, and widespread, and that the majority of the trees will have to be replaced by council.
“These cherry trees have been planted in recent years as part of the beautification of Sakura Ave and the ongoing development of Cowra’s unique Peace Precinct,” he said.
“Many of the trees were planted in recognition of the importance of the POW Camp to Australian and Japanese history and the town’s special place in the hearts of both nations.”
Each tree destroyed had been dedicated by a Cowra school student and a Japanese donor.
If you know anything about the offence call Cowra Police on 6341 5099 or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.
The Cowra Guardian will provide more information as it comes to hand.