Three young hunters were this morning ordered to carry out 300 hours of community service each after pleading guilty to destroying 104 Foresta 2000 trees last April.

The three men - Darren Cross, 24, of Birkirkara; Noel Grech, 24, of Mosta; and Charlot Chetcuti, 20, of Mosta were also fined €1,000 each. They were also asked to fork out €1,320 each to cover the €3,960 cost of the trees.

Police sources said that the men had vandalised the trees because they were angry at the decisions that had been taken regarding hunting.

Magistrate Anthony Vella warned the men they would be sent to jail immediately should they commit another crime.

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