Sycamore Gap tree: two men in their thirties arrested by police investigating 'illegal felling' of famous tree

Northumbria police have arrested two new suspects, in what has been "a very difficult and complex investigation"

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Two new suspects have been arrested and bailed by police investigating the suspected vandalism of one of the UK's most famous trees.

Northumbria Police began investigating after pictures emerged on 28 September of the well-known Sycamore Gap tree lying on its side, with spokespeople from both the force and the Northumberland National Park Authority saying it was believed to have been deliberately felled. A sixteen-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of causing criminal damage and a man in his sixties was arrested a day later, but both have since been bailed with no charges as of yet. On Wednesday (1 November), the force said two men in their 30s had been arrested and bailed in connection with the felling. Detective Chief Inspector Rebecca Fenney-Menzies told PA: “The loss of Sycamore Gap has been felt deeply across the community as well as further afield.

Forensic investigators from Northumbria Police examining the felled Sycamore Gap tree (Photo: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire) Forensic investigators from Northumbria Police examining the felled Sycamore Gap tree (Photo: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire)
Forensic investigators from Northumbria Police examining the felled Sycamore Gap tree (Photo: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire)

“As a force, we have seen many touching tributes from those who have detailed what this iconic landmark meant for them personally and for our region," she continued. “We’ve been working tirelessly to identify anyone responsible and bring them into police custody and we are committed to getting justice.

“I hope this recent wave of arrests demonstrates just how much work has been undertaken by our dedicated specialist teams in what has, so far, been a very difficult and complex investigation.”

The National Trust - which manages the site - cut up the 50-foot fallen tree and removed it from the site by crane in mid-October. It was put into safe storage at a trust site, with workers keeping the trunk in large sections to keep options open on what could be done with it in the future.

The famed Sycamore Gap tree, thought to be around 300 years old, sat alongside Hadrian's Wall, in a dramatic dip between two hills, and was featured in key scenes in Kevin Costner's 1991 film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves - as well as being one of the most photographed trees in the UK. It is believed to have caused some minor damage to the wall, a UNESCO World Heritage site, as it fell.

It was voted England's Tree of the Year in the Woodland Trust's annual competition in 2016.

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