Britain’s Sycamore Gap tree felled in ‘deliberate act of vandalism’

LONDON (Reuters) -Britain’s Sycamore Gap tree, a much-loved landmark whose dramatic silhouette featured in a Hollywood movie and was photographed by tourists from around the world, was cut down overnight in what police called a “deliberate act of vandalism”.

Police said they had arrested a 16-year old male in connection with the felling of the statuesque sycamore in northern England, which is set in a natural dip in the otherwise treeless, sweeping landscape alongside Hadrian’s Wall.

It was also known as the ‘Robin Hood Tree’ after featuring in the 1991 film “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves”.

Photographs showed the tree, estimated to be hundreds of years old and voted “English Tree of the Year” in 2016, lying on its side across the wall next to a freshly-cut stump.

“This is a world-renowned landmark and the events of today have caused significant shock, sadness and anger throughout the local community and beyond,” said Superintendent Kevin Waring, of Northumbria Police.

“An investigation was immediately launched following this vandalism, and this afternoon we have arrested one suspect in connection with our enquiries.”

The National Trust, who look after the site alongside Northumberland National Park, said it was “shocked and desperately saddened”, while local lawmaker Guy Opperman said everyone was “bereft”.

“This is criminal damage and an attack on one of the nation’s most famous trees,” Opperman said on social media.

(Reporting by Farouq Suleiman and Kylie MacLellan, editing by William James)