Boy arrested on suspicion of felling tree 'could not have done alone'
Boy, 16, arrested on suspicion of felling Sycamore Gap tree ‘could not have done it alone’ as it was a ‘professional job, not the work of someone who has only just left school’, friends say
- Friends of the teenager say he could not have felled the 300-year-old tree alone
- The 16-year-old has been arrested on suspicion of causing criminal damage
A teenage boy arrested on suspicion of felling the Sycamore Gap tree ‘could not have done it alone’ as it was a ‘professional job’, friends have claimed.
Friends of the 16-year-old, who has been released on bail by Northumbria Police pending further investigations, claim that the felling of the beloved tree was ‘not the work of someone who has only recently left school’.
The 300-year-old tree at the Sycamore Gap was mysteriously felled on Wednesday night, prompting hundreds to share their memories of the Northumberland landmark.
The tree, along Hadrian’s Wall, was made famous by Kevin Costner‘s 1991 film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.
Friends of the teen say he is an ‘easy target’ for suspicion and that he has ‘suffered bereavements in his family that led to some difficult behaviour at school’.
The 300-year-old tree at the Sycamore Gap was mysteriously felled on Wednesday night
Police are investigating and have arrested the 16-year-old on suspicion of causing criminal damage
Forensic investigators from Northumbria Police examine the felled Sycamore Gap tree
T he tree, along Hadrian’s Wall, was made famous by Kevin Costner ‘s 1991 film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
‘He was getting into fights and was warned about his behaviour many times’, one said. ‘When people were looking around for someone to blame he would have been an easy target but he could not have done that alone.
‘The tree was cut down by someone who knew exactly what they were doing, it was a professional job, not the work of someone who has only recently left school. I wasn’t surprised to hear that the police had released him.’
John Pattison, the farmer and tenant of Hotbank Farm on land owned by the National Trust where the tree grew, has described the incident as a ‘sad day’.
‘When I first realised it had gone down I thought it had been blown over by the wind’, he said. ‘I never imagined at that point that anyone had deliberately gone over to saw it down. The roots had become exposed because of all the people who come to visit.
‘I had been worried for the tree because the base would not have been as stable as it once was.
‘It’s sad to see a thing that has grown for so many years disappear from the landscape.
‘We have a long history in this area and like everyone else we’re wondering who would have done such a thing and why. Everyone seems to have a theory but no one knows for sure.’
The landmark was the backdrop for countless marriage proposals, childhood walks and a place to scattered loved ones’ ashes, and its felling has prompted a huge outcry online
Experts said the tree was in excellent condition before it was attacked
The location was iconic, with photographers travelling from across the world to photograph the tree against its stunning background
There has been an outpouring of grief for the historic tree
Newman played Wulf in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, when he was aged 15. He said the Sycamore Gap tree was a magical place
READ MORE: Druids warn that Sycamore Gap tree was a ‘link between above and below’ worlds but has now become a ‘symbol of fragility’
Sycamore Gap tree on Hadrian’s wall was chopped down by suspected vandals
Mr Pattinson’s son, Jonjo and his wife Anna, farm nearby at High Shield Farm. Their home overlooks Sycamore Gap.
‘We heard about it very early in the day but couldn’t believe it was true’, Anna said.
‘Our bedroom window looks out onto the gap and sure enough the tree wasn’t visible, it was a real shock. It’s very sad that such an important part of this area’s heritage was lost overnight.’
The landmark was the backdrop for countless marriage proposals, childhood walks and a place to scattered loved ones’ ashes, and its felling has prompted a huge outcry online.
Si King, best known as one half of the Hairy Bikers, accused the person responsible of ‘murder[ing] a sentinel of time and a sentimental spirit of Northumberland’.
Mr King took to X, formally known as Twitter, posting a video about the tree. He said: ‘Hello everyone, I’ve just been made aware that we’ve lost the sycamore at Sycamore Gap, somebody has felled it apparently.
‘Well I hope whoever’s done that has a conscience because you have just murdered a sentinel of time and a sentimental spirit of Northumberland and I hope you feel really good about yourself for whatever warped reason you’ve done it.
‘It’s shocking, I am beyond words.’
Former child actor, Daniel Newman, who was 15 when he played Wulf in Kevin Costner blockbuster, also reflected fondly on memories of the tree.
The film was the first glimpse of the tree in the 1991 classic and was the catalyst for it becoming a major tourist attraction for visitors who had previously come to see Hadrian’s Wall.
Mr Newman, now 47, said the iconic scene was ‘the first thing [he] did on the movie, on [his] first day’.
‘Cutting the tree down was senseless. It’s a beautiful and iconic image’, he said. ‘People had deep feelings and appreciation towards it. You can tell by the way that there’s such a big reaction to it – it’s not just from people who live near it or recognise it.’
A spokesman for the National Trust said: ‘This is a matter for the police, who have launched an investigation. We’re unable to comment at this time.’
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