Police are on the hunt for people who posed as workmen and hacked at more than a dozen trees on a playing field, reducing some to stumps.
The random fellings, on the council-owned land in Clayton, have left residents puzzled.
Coun Carol Ann Thirkill (Lab, Clayton and Fairweather Green) is worried that more of the 100 trees will be targeted if the culprit is not found.
She said: “They’re council owned trees and it’s absolutely criminal damage,” she said.
The sycamores and birches were planted 25 years ago by the local community and paid for through funding for environmental improvement projects, secured by Coun Thirkill’s father, former councillor Gordon Mitchell.
“My concern is that they’re going to come back and do more,” she said.
Coun Thirkill was contacted about the problem over a month ago when two trees had been damaged, since then around 14 others have been hacked back.