Tree surgeon fined for felling diseased tree covered by preservation order

A Devon tree surgeon has been fined £500 for chopping down a protected 150-year-old beech without permission.

The tree lay within a community woodland in Plymouth covered by a longstanding Tree Preservation Order (TPO).

David Elbrow of Plymouth Tree Services admitted in court to felling the tree in April last year, but claimed honey fungus rendered it a danger to the public.

He added that the disease had caused the tree to fall unexpectedly, landing on a boundary wall and blocking a public road.

Plymouth City Council disputed the spread of the fungus, saying it could have been tackled by cutting back the tree's canopy.

Helen Morris, prosecuting for the council, added: "The tree had been rather inexpertly felled. It damaged a boundary wall and blocked Plymbridge Road for several hours."

Magistrates fined Elbrow a total of £500 and ordered that he pay £450 compensation and £35 victim surcharge.

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