‘MALICIOUS’ chainsaw damage means a 180-year-old oak tree in Wool will have to be cut down.
Dorset Council is investgating two incidents which have left the tree, in Lampton Close, ‘permanently damaged’ by ‘deep cuts’ to the trunk and ‘several’ drill holes.
“The tree, which is estimated to be at least 180 years old has been severely damaged, is close to properties, a footpath and the highway and is no longer deemed safe,” a council spokesperson said.
“It will have to be cut down.”
They said any replacement will take many decades to make up the loss of the ‘important feature’, which supports more life than any other native tree species in the UK.
The oak was protected by a Tree Preservation Order (TPO) which ban the cutting down, uprooting, topping, lopping, wilful damage or wilful destruction of trees without the local authority’s consent.
“It is a criminal offence and the penalty for carrying out works to TPO trees without consent can result in fines of up to £20,000,” the spokesperson added. “Unlimited fines can be handed down in the Crown Court, in the event of serious breaches.”
Investigations are continuing into the two incidents of suspected malicious damage to the protected oak – on or before August 8 and again on the evening of August 26 – are ongoing.
Anyone with information about the damage to this mature oak tree email email@example.com or call 01929 557344 quoting enforcement reference, EN/2023/00354.