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UK: 2 charged over felling of famous Sycamore Gap tree

April 30, 2024

British police charged two men with criminal damage after the tree was chopped down in September. The sycamore was more than 150 years old and one of Britain's most photographed trees.

The Sycamore Gap tree pictured after it was cut down
The two accused also face charges of criminal damage to Hadrian's wallImage: Owen Humphreys/empics/picture alliance

Authorities in the United Kingdom have charged two men with criminal damage over the felling of the famous Sycamore Gap tree.

The iconic sycamore had stood for hundreds of years beside a section of the Hadrian's Wall UNESCO World Heritage Site in northeastern England.

The tree was discovered cut down by the Northumberland National Park Authority in September 2023.

Regrowing a piece of history: the Sycamore Gap Tree

Much-loved 'Robin Hood' tree

The two accused, aged 31 and 38, have also been charged with damaging Hadrian's Wall, built in A.D. 122 by Emperor Hadrian to guard the northwestern frontier of the Roman Empire. 

The suspects were arrested last October and released on bail. They are due to appear at Newcastle Magistrates' Court on May 15.

The tree was located in a dip in the landscape and featured in the 1991 Hollywood blockbuster "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves" which starred Kevin Costner.

The destruction of the tree caused outrage and an outpouring of sadness in the UK.

It won the Woodland Trust's Tree of the Year in 2016 and was a popular spot for photographers, hikers, marriage proposals and scattering of ashes.

The stump of the felled tree remains at the site with a low fence around it, in the hope it will regrow over time.

kb/nm (AFP, Reuters, AP)