Crawley man fined thousands of pounds for unlawful tree felling

A man who unlawfully felled two protected trees in Ifield was fined a total of £7,881 at Crawley Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, February 3.

Damian Sawyer was prosecuted by Crawley Borough Council and pleaded guilty to felling a cherry tree and a yew tree contrary to a tree protection order.

In 2015, Mr Sawyer had applied to the council to chop down one of the trees. His application was refused but he felled that tree and another protected tree anyway.

For felling the cherry tree, described by magistrates as a ‘community asset’, Mr Sawyer was fined £4,154. For felling the yew tree he was fined £2,769.

A man who unlawfully felled two protected trees in Ifield was fined a total of £7,881 at Crawley Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, February 3. Picture by Jon Rigby

He was also ordered to pay the prosecution costs of £768 and the government surcharge of £190.

Magistrates took into account Mr Sawyer’s guilty plea at the earliest opportunity and mitigation which included that he had planted replacement trees.

Councillor Peter Smith, Cabinet member for planning and economic development at Crawley Borough Council, said: "Trees are important to our wellbeing as well as to the environment and I hope this case serves as a deterrent to anyone else considering chopping down protected trees.

"You can check if a tree is protected by submitting a protected trees form, available on the council’s website.”

For more information about tree preservation orders visit crawley.gov.uk/planning/design-and-conservation/tree-preservation-orders-tpo.