SIXTY young trees that were dug up and stolen from Royal Wootton Bassett Rugby Club have been replaced after a public spirited teenager heard what had happened.

But Ben Thornbury, who uses his spare time to clean up the streets of Malmesbury, had to wait several months before he could hand them over.

Volunteer grounds staff at the club discovered the saplings had been taken in June after they planted them last autumn. They had been donated as part of a carbon offset scheme by IT and consulting firm the CGI Group.

Ben, 15, said: “I’m part of the community group which helps Malmesbury town and last November I ordered 225 trees from The Woodland Trust. When I saw the rugby club had some of its trees stolen I got in touch with them to see if they would like some of the trees we had to replace them.

“They came and picked them up on Monday and they were so happy with them. I just wanted to help them because I couldn’t understand why these trees were stolen, they’re so important because they help the climate and it just meant the world to give back.”

Ben and Julie Taylor, both members of Helping the Community of Malmesbury,handed over a range of trees including rowan, oak, hazel and hawthorn.

Julie, 61, told the Adver: “We really thought it would help them and also help me to get my garden back as we had them there. We had plans to start planting them before lockdown happened but that wasn’t possible as we didn’t have enough volunteers, so when we heard about what happened to the club we had to do something.

“We really couldn’t believe someone would steal the trees in the first place, it’s an idiotic thing to do.

“We’re all volunteers including the Wootton Bassett team, it all takes a lot of organising and a lot of effort goes into it. Then for someone to come along and take them is just unbelievable, we like helping people and this was a good opportunity.”

Club chairman, Chris Elias was grateful for their donation.

He said: “Very kindly Ben, who was working on a project in Malmesbury, agreed to donate and pass them onto the club.

“It was great they picked up on what had happened, him and the club acted straight away and got in touch. It’s just brilliant, it’s nice to have another like-minded community organisation who is willing to step in and help another.

“It’s put my faith back into humanity, the support we have had has been fantastic. Other local businesses have been in touch offering support so it’s been great.”