Arrests made after felling of the famous Sycamore Gap tree
Written by Kiara Armstrong on 2nd October 2023
Over the past couple of days, the news in England has been filled with information about the felling of a world-famous tree
On September 28, the much-loved Sycamore Gap tree was felled overnight. Northumbria police have arrested a 16-year-old on September 28 and a male in his 60s on September 29 on suspicion of criminal damage. Both individuals have been released on bail pending further inquiries.
In a statement posted on social media, Northumbria Police said it believed the incident was a “deliberate act of vandalism“, adding that investigations were ongoing.
This tree was not just a beloved landmark, it held a special place in the hearts of many, not just local residents.
A spokesperson for Northumbria police said: “This evening, officers have arrested a second male – in his 60s – in connection with the incident.
“He remains in police custody at this time and is assisting us with our enquiries.”
They added: “We hope this second arrest demonstrates just how seriously we’re taking this situation, and our ongoing commitment to find those responsible and bring them to justice.”
“Although another arrest has been made, this investigation is still in the early stages, and we would continue to encourage any members of the public with information which may assist to get in touch.”
Situated adjacent to Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland, this historic sycamore is estimated to be around 300 years old.
It is known as the Robin Hood tree due to its prominent appearance in Kevin Reynolds’ action-adventure film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, featuring Kevin Costner, Alan Rickman, and Morgan Freeman.
This cherished tree also received the title of English Tree of the Year in 2016 by the Woodland Trust’s awards.
North of Tyne Mayor Jamie Driscoll on social media, said: “I can’t express how angry I am at the vandalism of the tree at #SycamoreGap.”
“People have had their ashes scattered there. People have proposed there. I’ve picnicked there with my wife and kids. It’s part of our collective soul. We must bring whoever did this to justice.”
An update has also been provided on the ongoing situation at Sycamore Gap by the Northumbria National Park authority.
Tony Gates, Chief Executive Officer, of Northumberland National Park Authority, said: “Hopefully we’ll find a way together of moving ahead and making the Sycamore Gap a special place for all of us and all of those memories we carry from the past”.
“That tree isn’t dead or gone and will regrow vigorously from the stump”
Chris Brewchorne, a local woodman, shared his opinion on the situation via his Facebook page:
“A lot of people are understandably mortified by the vandalism of the Sycamore Gap tree, but I can guarantee, that tree isn’t dead or gone and will regrow vigorously from the stump.”
“Acers (European sycamores) react very well to cutting and respond with strong regrowth. They used to be coppiced to stumps to regrow into fresh poles harvested on a 15 year cycle.”
“In a few weeks it’ll be covered in shoots and new growth, next year it’ll be a thicket of branches, and in 5 years maybe 30 feet high. It’ll arise phoenix-like from its ruin.”
“Here are before and after pics of acers (sycamore and field maple) I’ve chopped deliberately to improve their stability and form and extend their lives. They’re all thriving.”
Northumbria Police are still on the search for anyone who may be able to help with their enquiries:
“We’re appealing for anyone with information – no matter how small or insignificant you think it may be – to let us know. It could prove crucial to our enquiries. You can contact us via the ‘Tell Us Something’ page of our website or by calling 101 quoting log NP-20230928-0295”