A COUPLE appeared in court for cutting down protected trees illegally.
Pamela and Robert Harding pleaded guilty to contravening of preservation regulations by cutting down, uprooting or wilfully destroying trees.
It was important that the council makes an example of those who carry out this sort of behaviour which is a criminal offence.Councillor Sean Woodward
In total, they felled 11 protected trees without consent.
People living in Sarisbury Court, off Holly Hill Lane in Sarisbury where the offences took place, complained to Fareham Borough Council about the incidents. And after investigations, the defendants were charged and appeared before Fareham magistrates.
A resident, who did not want to be named, said they were happy the couple were brought to justice. They had no right to come here and take the trees down,’ she said.
‘I’m glad the council took action because I know people complained to them about what they were doing.
‘This is a lovely area and everyone knows we cannot touch the trees, even the ones in our gardens, because they are protected.’
The Hardings, of Totland Road, in Gosport, own a section of the land in Sarisbury Court and started cutting down the trees in February this year.
Both were sentenced to a conditional discharge of 18 months and ordered to pay Fareham Borough Council costs of £275 pounds. They also had to pay £30 victim surcharge.
Sarisbury ward councillor and council leader Sean Woodward said the council had to make an example.
‘Many residents contacted me to complain about this tree felling in Sarisbury Court,’ he said.
‘It was important that the council makes an example of those who carry out this sort of behaviour which is a criminal offence.
‘I had tree preservation orders put on the entire court many years ago as it is an outstandingly beautiful part of our borough.
‘We will not tolerate people ignoring tree preservation orders.’