12:31PM, Monday 30 July 2018
A tree surgeon whose staff were caught red-handed cutting protected trees has been slapped with a fine and ordered to pay a hefty fine for cutting protected trees in a historic woodland in Windsor, alongside the landowner.
Royal Borough planning enforcement teams were tipped off from a member of the public that 11 protected trees had been felled by Mark Knight’s employees at a site in St Leonard’s Hill.
The unlawfully felled tress included ash, willow and sycamore, some more than 60 years old.
A criminal investigation was launched against Knight, his business Landmark Tree Surgeons and the landowner Geoffrey Try.
All three admitted to cutting down protected trees contrary to Tree Preservation Regulations and each admitted one count at Reading Magistrates Court before being sentenced at the same court on Friday, July 20.
Landmark Tree Surgeons has also admitted to a further two offences for unlawfully felling trees on another site in Hemwood Road, Windsor, and will face sentencing at Reading Magistrates’ Court on 3 September.
Cllr Phill Bicknell, cabinet member for highways, transport and Windsor, said: “This is an excellent example of the quick work our officers can do with the help of residents and visitors reporting an issue as soon as they see it.
“Our borough is blessed with some wonderful outdoor spaces and we take our duty to protect our nature and heritage seriously.
“I hope the level of fine and the quick action of our planning enforcement team to prosecute these individuals sends a clear message to others that there are serious consequences for those who show no respect to our woodlands and the laws that protect them.”
Geoffrey Try, of St. Leonards Hill, Windsor, was fined £2,045.30 and told to pay £1,991.40 in costs.
Mark Knight, of Cypress Farm, Guildford, was fined £4,545.30 and told to pay £1,991.40 in costs.
Landmark Ltd was fined £11,045.30 and told to pay £1, 991.40 in costs.
The council has also removed the company from its list of approved contractors.
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