Police Make Second Arrest in Destruction of Sycamore Gap Tree

New developments in a bizarre vandalism case

Sycamore Gap tree felled
Forensic investigators from Northumbria Police examine the felled Sycamore Gap tree, on Hadrian's Wall in Northumberland.
Owen Humphreys/PA Images via Getty Images

Cutting down a tree for no apparent reason is never a good thing. It doesn’t matter whether that impromptu act of arboreal vandalism takes place on a residential street in New York or near a historic site in England — it’s a bad idea, troubling for a host of reasons and also illegal. Which brings us to the case of the Sycamore Gap Tree — a visually striking tree situated near Hadrian’s Wall in Northumberland.

Or at least it was situated there, until someone decided that it would be a brilliant idea to cut it down. The tree earned plenty of acclaim for its beauty, which also led to an appearance in the film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves in 1991. And while the tree had its share of admirers, it apparently also had some detractors — which led to some person or persons chopping down the tree earlier this week.

As The Guardian reports, police have now made a second arrest in the case. Initial reports were that a 16-year-old had been arrested in connection with the act of vandalism; now, a second man — this one at least 60 years of age — has also been arrested by local authorities.

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The article quotes DCI Rebecca Fenney-Menzies of the local police to the effect that “this investigation is still in the early stages.” It still begs the question of why someone would want to do this to begin with — general hostility towards everyone? Some godawful social media “cut down a historic tree” challenge? Unfortunately, this wouldn’t be the first time a historic tree was vandalized in recent years — and it’s unlikely to be the last.

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