We have finally worked out what has been attacking our Cherry tree. The leaves were getting decimated in some areas and the young fruit was suffering too. I thought initially that it was pigeons or other avian pests. We initially installed a make-shift bird scarer but closer inspection revealed that the culprit was in fact SNAILS!
The pesky molluscs had climbed up the tiny tree trunk and slithered out along the bendy branches to feast on the fresh foliage and even the precious immature fruit. We found over 25 on our first security sweep and the tree is only about 2m high. We plucked them all off and threw them as far away as we were able. I then painted a ring of fruit tree grease around the trunk as a deterrent to further incursion. The children are now mounting a daily fruit based border patrol- and removing any further slimy insurgents (their reward will be obvious, they both love cherries).
In further pest control news, I have also had to take defensive action in our allotment rustic fruit cage. The roof is not totally bird proof, being made of 10mm wide mesh and my red-current bush, which is full of quickly ripening fruit was being ravaged (definitely birds this time). I have now covered the upper branches with finer netting and hope to harvest the currents soon.