Protected 200-year-old Tree Poisoned After Neighbor Complained About Blocked Sunlight

5: A sycamore tree featured in Hockney's exhibition; The Arrival of Spring in Woldgate
Bethany Clarke / Getty Images

A homeowner reports that soon after a neighbor complained that her protected 200-year-old Sycamore tree was blocking the light onto their property, the tree was poisoned and is now dying.

According to The Daily Mail, Jill Sarchet, a woman from Burnley, England, grew suspicious after the leaves on her 100-foot tall sycamore started turning brown and dying. Upon closer inspection, she discovered that over 50 holes were drilled into the base of the tree, which sits in the back of her garden.

The suspicion is that someone stuck in at night and injected poison into the holes, which according to arborists, is now killing the tree. The giant sycamore is part of a local tree protection order, and cannot be taken down.

Sarchet explains that this happened after a neighbor complained that light was being blocked from their property, and they wanted something to be done.

“This is one of the oldest and most important trees in Burnley and has been here a lot longer than the person responsible for this. The whole situation has left me extremely distressed. To think that someone is creeping into my garden either when I’m not at home or at night to carry out this kind of malicious behavior is devastating.”

Sarchet stated that it is unnerving to think that someone is in her garden at night lurking around and “carrying out malicious behavior.” She adds that it’s causing her a great deal of stress and interrupting her sleep, saying that at night she doesn’t even want to let her dog out.

According to the official Tree Preservation Order, anyone who “willfully destroys or damages a tree that is subject to a Tree Preservation Order can be taken to court and fined up to £20,000 [approximately $24,758.14].”

Loading...

Sarchet’s efforts to get to the bottom of this matter are being supported by local politician, Burnley councilor and former Liberal Democrat MP Gordon Birtwistle, who states that he is outraged that someone could so blatantly interfere with a tree on private property.

“Jill then invited me over to see for myself and I counted 52 five-inch holes had been drilled into the base of the tree.”

The homeowner has now spent money to build a protective fence to keep others out of her yard to bolster her efforts to save the tree. Tree expert Greg Thompson traveled to Burnley from Cumbria after he was contacted by Sarchet to analyze the damage, and he concurred that there is a good chance that ultimately the tree will need to be removed.