Man, 52, who started sawing around a 50ft street tree is fined £2,500

Man, 52, who started sawing around a 50ft street tree in broad daylight in front of stunned neighbours is fined £2,500

  • Man admitted to criminal damage and fined after attempting to saw down a tree
  • Horrified neighbours dialled 999 as he cut ring around the trunk in to kill it
  • Local councillors have hit out after incident which left some residents ‘shocked’ 

A man has been fined £2,500 after his neighbours called 999 when he began sawing down a much-loved tree outside their homes in broad daylight.

Residents of Roundhill Road, Kettering, saw the 52-year-old man – who has not been named – march up to the 50ft tall mature acer tree and begin cutting a ring round the trunk so it would gradually die.

Ring barking or girdling causes irreparable damage to vital vessels that transfer nutrients up from the roots through the trunk to the leaves.

They are protected under the bark of the tree and cutting them can kill a tree.

After the man was photographed in action, Northamptonshire Police traced him and he has been given a conditional caution for criminal damage.

He was ordered to pay £2,000 compensation to North Northamptonshire Council and £500 to an environment charity.

After the man, 52, was photographed in action (pictured), Northamptonshire Police traced him and he has been given a conditional caution for criminal damage

Cllr Dez Dell said ‘I find it bizarre that people can move to a street that has had trees for a hundred years and then want to destroy them – the trees were there before us and should be there after us.

A ring has been sawed around the trunk in a bid to kill the mature acer

‘I was very upset to learn about the killing of this mature street tree. 

‘There are so many benefits our street trees provide, including the obvious haven for nature and wildlife, but also that they reduce surface water and flooding, remove pollutants from the air and the shade they provide is invaluable, especially as our summers get hotter.

‘For those not so nature minded, they also increase house prices. We know trees are so important in the fight against climate change, which is why hundreds have been planted around Kettering in the last few years.

‘However, it will take years before these new trees will sequester as much carbon as our decades old mature street trees.

The tree (pictured) on Roundhill Road, Kettering, was sawed by a man who it is believed was trying to cut it down because it blocked out light 

‘It’s tragic that all the work the community puts into these tree-planting events is undermined by this wanton destruction.

‘Unfortunately, this is not the only case I have heard of people attempting to kill street trees.’

The investigating team have taken a while to amass all the evidence – the trunk attack happened on May 26th this year.

The motive of the man for trying to rid the street of the much-loved tree is not known, but it is believed he wanted to get rid of it because of the light it blocked out.

Outraged residents reported him to police and, during an interview, he admitted causing criminal damage. 

Cllr Harriet Pentland, North Northamptonshire Council’s executive member for climate and the green environment, said ‘I am sure many local residents will be as saddened as I was to see the video evidence of someone deliberately and intentionally killing a mature street tree.’

Speaking about the caution and fine, she added ‘We hope this will send out a strong message that the council and the police will seek to prosecute anyone who deliberately causes damage and harm to the much-loved community trees.

‘We would like to express our thanks to Northamptonshire Police for their positive action in identifying and prosecuting the offender.’

Neighbourhood police officer PC Mike Ryan said ‘This is a positive result for the local community and I would like to thank them for reporting this matter to us.

‘There is often a false perception that we do not respond to incidents of criminal damage, but we do, and I hope that message is loud and clear to potential future offenders.’

The man admitted the offence and was given a conditional caution – an alternative to prosecution under the Criminal Justice Act.

It requires an offender to admit their wrongdoing and to agree to comply with certain conditions, which must be ‘rehabilitative’ or ‘reparative’ and/or to pay a financial penalty.

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