Thursday, 24 Sep 2020

A homeowner was hit with a £40,000 fine for chopping branches off a tree that blocked sun to his balcony

A WEALTHY homeowner who hacked back a protected tree that blocked light to his new balcony must pay £40,000.

Samuel Wilson’s illegal act added £21,750 to the value of his £1million home, a court heard.

The student housing boss, 40, was forced to repay that amount as he was seen to be profiting from an illegal act.

Wilson is thought to be the first person prosecuted under the Proceeds of Crime Act over damaging a tree to improve light. He added a balcony to the ­master bedroom in 2016. When he realised a 42ft oak kept it in shade he ignored its protected status and chopped off some of its 12ft branches.

A neighbour reported the destruction to Poole council, Dorset.

Experts said he “virtually destroyed” the tree and doubt it will recover.

Wilson admitted wilful damage at an earlier hearing.

He was fined £1,200 at Bournemouth crown court.

And Poole council used the Proceeds of Crime Act, with two surveyors estimating the value he added to his property.

Wilson must also pay £15,000 costs.

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