A 16-year-old boy was arrested Thursday after one of the world’s most popular trees was felled the night before in what police said was an apparent act of vandalism.
The iconic Sycamore Gap Tree on Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland, England, played a central role in the 1991 Kevin Costner film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and was named Tree of the Year by the Woodland Trust in 2016. Before it was unceremoniously leveled by an unknown party, apparently with a chainsaw, the tree known to many as “Robin Hood’s Tree” was one of the most photographed trees in the UK
Northumbria Police said they had taken the boy into custody on suspicion of criminal damage. “This is a world-famous landmark and today’s events have caused great shock, sadness and anger throughout the local community and beyond,” said Superintendent Kevin Waring The Guardian.
A statement said: said the Northumberland National Park Authority It “can confirm that the iconic tree at Sycamore Gap unfortunately fell overnight. “We have reason to believe it was felled intentionally.” Officials are asking the public “not to visit the site at this time while we continue with ours “We are working with partners to find out what happened and make the site safe.”
Glen Sanderson, Chairman of Northumberland County Council called it “a very sad day for our county” and said he found it difficult to express how shocked and hurt he felt at the news.
“The Sycamore Gap tree has stood for centuries and is known around the world,” Sanderson said. “It is absolutely terrible that it was decided in what was clearly a deliberate act and I am sure I speak for everyone in the county when I say how upset I was when I heard the news this morning.”
Describing the incident as “horrific”. Conservative MP Guy Opperman said this was “undoubtedly a criminal act” and pointed out that he had been in Sycamore Gap only ten days ago.
“My heart was ripped out” photographer Ian Sproat told the BBC.
The tree has been “an important and iconic feature of the landscape for almost 200 years,” Andrew Poad, general manager of the National Trust, told the broadcaster. Northumbria Police said an investigation had been launched.
“As a force [we] We are committed to finding out the full circumstances and we will consider all tactics available to us in this investigation.” said Superintendent Kevin Waring. “Anyone found to be responsible for this damage, which we believe was a deliberate act of vandalism, can expect a prompt and appropriate response.”
Despite it, Opperman said“[E]Even if the police catch the perpetrator, the tree will still be missing.”