BCP Council has successfully prosecuted a man following the suspicious death of a protected Monterey Pine tree.
Poole resident Robert Page was ordered to pay £80,000 in fines and costs by Salisbury Crown Court for poisoning the tree, which stood on his land, according to Dorset Live.
A council statement said: “We are committed to protecting our outstanding natural environment and trees play an important role in both terms of the ecological diversity and amenity value of our area.
“In this case, BCP Council officers acted swiftly to investigate the suspicious death of a large Monterey Pine protected by a tree preservation order in Poole.”
Mr Page had submitted two refused planing applications and a tree works application to remove the 65-feet tree.
Following this, communications suggesting the tree was dying raised council officers’ suspicions.
A criminal investigation was launched once they became aware the tree was in serious rapid decline.
“It soon became apparent that blatant attempts had been made to destroy the tree,” the council said.
“The tree had been drilled and ringbarked, and there was a strong smell of chemicals present. Samples were taken for testing, which confirmed chemicals had been used as a method to poison and kill the tree.
“It is a criminal offence to cause or permit the destruction of a protected tree and we take such matters very seriously indeed.”
The court heard Mr Page felt the tree stood in the way of a land deal he hoped to conclude on the site.