olice are hunting a mystery lumberjack who has chopped down dozens of tree along a picturesque stretch of the Thames.

The culprit has struck up to 30 times in the past ten days prompting locals in Walton, Surrey, to call in the law.

The lumberjack has no authorisation to chop down the trees and has not been spotted carrying out the secret missions and has been operating in the dead of night to avoid detection.

Extra police patrols have been drafted in on the two mile stretch between Walton and Weybridge where the lumberjack has been operating, armed with a chainsaw.

Pictures from the area show trees reduced to a stump and debris from the cutting down all over the towpath and nearby roads.

In a joint statement, Surrey Police and Elmbridge Council today blasted the “mindless damage’ and appealed for anyone with any information, including sightings or CCTV footage, to contact them.

The mystery chopper is targeting the ash, oak and elm trees and believe the culprit may drive a small, red car. The first tree was cut down on March 28, triggering complaints to the council and the police inquiry.

A tree felled in Walton, sparking a police investigation.

/ Elmbridge Council

Anthony Cilia, a retired kitchen-fitter from Weybridge, was among the first to spot the damage to the trees, one of which was sliced into several pieces.

He told Mail Online: “For some days along the Thames towpath between Walton and Weybridge there has been a phantom chainsaw vandal cutting down trees in the early hours.

“Why this person is doing it is beyond me. There are plenty of wooded areas nearby to go to but for some reason they are choosing to do it in a public area on the banks of the river.

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