You might not have considered that there could really be any crimes taking place relating to the trees lining our streets and in our gardens – but in fact, it seems that this may well be a growing problem around the UK, with stories of trees being poisoned appearing in the headlines year in, year out.
An article has just popped up on the BBC website about three pine trees in Bournemouth that were deliberately drilled and then had poisonous herbicide glyphosate poured into the trunks. Back in June last year, the trunks of two of the pines were drilled up to 15 times and the following month a third pine was found in a similar state. Now, two out of the three have died.
In order to stop this from happening again, wooden dowels were used to plug the holes up and CCTV was installed in the local area in October. Bournemouth Borough Council has now said it will be planting six new trees around the damaged ones, while Dorset Police are looking into the cause of the damage.
West Cliff Green Residents’ Association Chris Colledge told the news source: “Residents and a number of hoteliers along West Cliff are absolutely appalled that someone should take the law into their own hands, with a motive of whatever purpose, and target these beautiful trees.”
Sadly, this isn’t an isolated case and similar instances have been reported around the UK – and around the world. In 2015, for example, five 60-year-old beech trees in Laund Clough Woods near Accrington in Lancashire were poisoned, with holes found drilled at the base of the trunks and some kind of substance poured into them.
And in 2010, homeowners in Poole in Dorset appeared to take the law into their own hands, poisoning trees in order to improve their coastal views. According to the Daily Telegraph at the time, eight separate attacks were recorded over several months, including poisoning with cleaning fluid and chainsaw attacks.
And a Stoke Sentinel report back in 2014 revealed that a 47-year-old doctor was ordered to pay over £4,000 after poisoning two copper beech and one lime tree in his garden in Stone in order to limit foliage growth so that more light could flood into his house.
His trees were under Tree Preservation Orders, which are made by local planning authorities in England to protect woodlands, groups of trees or specific trees. The order prohibits wilful damage and destruction, uprooting, lopping, topping and cutting down without written consent from the council in question.
If you are having tree problems at home, you must always seek out arboricultural advice from contractors and consultants, or your council, to find out what your responsibilities are, as well as what options are available to you. If you’re not sure whether any of the trees in your garden or on your land are protected, you would certainly be wise to try and find out before doing any work.
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