Teen Arrested as Iconic UK Tree ‘Deliberately Felled’

Police in Northumbria, England today arrested a 16-year-old boy in conjunction with the felling of one of the country’s most iconic trees.

Authorities said the teenager was in custody under suspicion of criminal damage and was cooperating with an investigation.

Police superintendent Kevin Waring told the BBC that the tree was “a world-renowned landmark.” He said that its loss had “caused significant shock, sadness and anger throughout the local community and beyond.”

Sycamore Gap, the location of the tree, is a landmark for tourists and photographers along Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland. Growing from the bottom of a swale in the landscape near Hexham, its namesake tree earned fame in the 1991 film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, starring Kevin Costner.

Already famous among UK naturalists, it stood as “an important and iconic feature in the landscape for nearly 200 years,” the National Trust reported.

That was until overnight on Wednesday. Locals arrived to find the previously healthy tree down, cut cleanly near its base. Northumberland National Park Authority officials have given the opinion that the tree was “deliberately felled.”

Liverpool resident Alison Hawkins arrived early at the scene on Thursday. She said she was “tearful” when a national park ranger told her the tree had fallen.

“It was a proper shock. It’s basically the iconic picture that everyone wants to see,” she told the BBC.

Authorities solicited information relevant to the case as heartache wracked the greater community.

Sam Anderson

Sam Anderson takes any writing assignments he can talk his way into while intermittently traveling the American West and Mexico in search of margaritas — er, adventure. He parlayed a decade of roving trade work into a life of fair-weather rock climbing and truck dwelling before (to his parents’ evident relief) finding a way to put his BA in English to use. Sam loves animals, sleeping outdoors, campfire refreshments and a good story.