Teen arrested after cutting down Sycamore Gap tree, police say

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The tree stood proudly for hundreds of years, set alone in a dramatic fall in the landscape of Northumberland, England, next to Hadrian’s Wall. Perhaps the largest tree built in England, the Sycamore Gap tree attracted visitors from afar and appeared in the 1991 film “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves”.

Now it’s just a stump. The centuries-old love tree’s life ended in what authorities believe was an act of deliberate vandalism.

Northumbria Police said on Thursday that they have arrested a 16-year-old boy on suspicion of cutting down a famous tree. In their statementthey did not name the suspect and said they were “keeping an open mind” with the early stages of the investigation.

“People’s ashes have been scattered there. People have praised there. I’m on a picnic there with my wife and kids,” North on Tyne Mayor Jamie Driscoll X said, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter. “It’s part of our collective soul.”

The fallen tree and stump were surrounded with police tape on Thursday. Northumberland National Park Authority asked the public not to visit the site during the investigation.

The Forest Trust named the Sycamore Gap as the English Tree of the Year in 2016. As night fell, the tree cast a striking silhouette against the horizon. It grew in a dip next to Hadrian’s Wall, the 73-mile stone wall built in AD 122 by the Roman Army to mark the northwestern border of the Roman Empire – a role it held for three centuries, until the end Roman rule on the island.

By Thursday afternoon, the iconic site was named “Sycamore Stump” on Google Maps.

The National Trust, the UK heritage conservation charity which helped look after the tree, said he was “shocked and deeply saddened” by the news and was working to understand what happened and what could be done. “We know how much this iconic tree is loved locally, nationally and by everyone who has visited,” the group said.

It was believed that the tree was about 300 years old.

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