Children at New Elgin Primary School have been devastated after trees donated to them were stolen by thieves in the night.
Pupils had planted 80 trees in the school playground – but discovered they had all been stolen when they turned up to class on Thursday morning.
Posting on social media about the theft, head teacher Elaine Milne said she had passed CCTV footage of two men acting suspiciously in the playground to police.
The Facebook post read: “Sad news. Before Christmas the rotary gifted New Elgin 40 fir trees which our eco committee duly planted.
“This term we received 40 fruit trees which included apple, hawthorn, blackcurrant and gooseberry from The Woodland Trust.
‘All have now been stolen’
“Again our eco committee planted these trees under the care of Miss Milligan and with support from the Environmental Action Plan (REAP).
“All have now been stolen.”
However, head teacher Mrs Milne later told The Press and Journal that the school had been overwhelmed with kindess after the nighttime raid.
She said: “Something positive has come out of a terrible thing. Lovely phone calls and emails have restored our faith in community.
“The school have been overwhelmed with the kindness and generosity of the school community and local business who have offered donations.
“The school are going to consider how to move forward after Easter, and towards second green flag.
“We will be sharing our vision after the Easter break.”
‘Very low to steal from school and young children’
Moray Council leader Graham Leadbetter described the theft as “gutting” for staff, children and the wider community.
He added: “It is a particular low crime to steal from a school community and from very young children who have put a lot of effort into this.
“And will they will be very upset by these actions by others.
“I hope those responsible will reflect in their behaviour.”
Commenting on the post, one woman offered two saplings. She said: “Oh my, this is awful
“We are getting two saplings delivered tomorrow from the Woodland Trust’s big climate fightback You guys are more than welcome to them? I know it’s only two, but every little helps.”
Another said: “I have recently moved house and there is a healthy little cherry tree in our garden we don’t want to keep if you’d like to have it to re-start the wonderful initiative.”
A police spokesman said: “We received a report around 11.15am on Friday, March 18 about the theft of trees from the grounds of New Elgin Primary School.
“Inquiries are ongoing and at an early stage.”