UKTC Archive

RE: Tree Vandalism

Subject: RE: Tree Vandalism
From: Matthew Searle ES
Date: Jan 03 2007 17:26:22


Unfortunately we havn't had the opportunity to pursue such a case much
further than our solicitors - mainly because, as you state -it's difficult
to catch the 'culprit' red handed.

Here's the theory... 

*       The Criminal Damage Act 1971, s. 1(1), makes it an offence to
destroy or damage any property belonging to another without lawful excuse,
either deliberately or recklessly. The Act defines "property" to include all
property of a tangible nature, including plants "growing wild". 

C. Mynors states that the meaning of the phrase "a plant growing wild" is
uncertain. It certainly includes a plant (such as a tree) that is
self-seeded, and then left to grow without any human intervention. It may
not include any plant planted deliberately and thereafter intensively
cultivated. The use of the word "growing" tends to suggest that the phrase
would include a plant that was planted deliberately but has for many years
been left entirely untended. 

*       The Criminal Damage Act s. 5(2) (a) provides that someone shall be
deemed to have a lawful excuse to carry out what would otherwise be criminal
damage if he or she honestly believed, at the time of carrying out the
works, that the owner of the property (or person entitled to authorise works
to it -ie you) had consented to the works, or would have consented if they
had known of the works and the reasons for them. 

*       Depending on the type of Council land on which your trees are
growing -you could also go for trespass -if it's obvious the work could only
be carried out on your land...but that's another lot of law!

Matt Searle
Principal Tree Officer

Telephone: 01245 XXXXXX
Fax: 01245 XXXXXX

-----Original Message-----
[] On Behalf Of Jonathan Warren
Sent: 03 January 2007 17:09
To: UK Tree Care
Subject: Tree Vandalism

Hello all

I wanted to know how other councils deal with cases of the above?  I
have a couple of cases every year when someone decides to cut down
trees on council land for whatever reason but always find myself
powerless to do anything without having any witnesses happy to come

It is usually pretty obvious that it is 'someone' adjacent to the
but quite often not possible to pin it on the right person.  I have
written to people in these areas in the past with a standard 'we are
aware that someone is being a naughty monkey' letter without directly
pointing the finger at anyone but feel this may be unfair on anyone
other than the culprit.

So, do any of you get the Police involved to do some door knocking
enquiries?  Or the above, or let it go as something we can do very
little about.  Or does anyone carry any legal powers similar to those
with TPO's etc?


Jonathan Warren
Arboricultural Manager, Environment Department
Wrexham County Borough Council
01978 XXXXXX
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