In a case taken to Hereford Magistrates Court by Herefordshire Council’s Conservation team, Lugwardine resident Roy Harrison pleaded not guilty to consenting to unauthorised works to a TPO-protected tree.
The court found Harrison guilty and ordered him to pay costs of £5,000, a fine of £180 and a victim surcharge of £30.
It was put to the court that Harrison attempted to get a protected lime tree on his land cut down for financial gain, in order to clear the site for housing development.
Previous planning applications for housing on the site, separate applications to fell the protected tree and subsequent appeals, had all been turned down.
In May 2017, Harrison employed a tree surgeon to cut down the tree, under the belief that the TPO was invalid. The works were stopped part-way through.
The council said that although the lime tree will likely reform its canopy over time, the unauthorised works may have weakened it.
The tree surgeon was initially interviewed under caution, but no further action was taken.
Marc Willimont, the council's acting assistant director for Regulatory, Environment and Waste, said: "When undertaking works to a protected tree, responsibility lies with the person commissioning the work and the contractor.
"We hope this case will act as a deterrent to anyone who may be considering carrying out unauthorised works to protected trees."