£20,000 mature Crawley oak tree severely damaged in attempt to retrieve drone

A mature and healthy oak tree that was so badly vandalised at Tilgate Forest Golf Centre it had to be felled has been valued at around £20,000.

The Crawley Observer reported on Friday that Sussex Police are looking for the culprit - the incident happened while a man was trying to retrieve a trapped drone

The tree had to be felled 9AI0pa4vHfmlBK5UsSws

The tree had to be felled 9AI0pa4vHfmlBK5UsSws

Now Crawley Borough Council is working with Sussex Police to try to identify the person involved.

The council says that the tree was cut into by a chainsaw, an act of criminal damage and vandalism that caused significant damage and giving tree surgeons no choice but to fell the tree.

The incident happened on Saturday October 13 at about 4.20pm.

A dog walker was on the path near the 18th hole when she saw a man acting suspiciously near an oak tree, which had large cuts in it.

Police are looking for this man in connection with the incident

Police are looking for this man in connection with the incident

She reported this to the police.

When she returned 40 minutes later a second man had arrived.

He was a tree surgeon who also called the police and reported that the tree was in a dangerous condition.

The tree surgeon climbed the tree and removed the drone.

The damage done to the tree

The damage done to the tree

The council adds that a member of Glendale Golf staff heard what had happened and attended.

He gave permission for the tree to be felled in order to make the area safe.

Chris Mullins, Cabinet member for Wellbeing, said: “This is a disgraceful act and a massive overreaction. I can’t understand how someone flies a drone – which they didn’t have permission to do – into a tree and decides the best course of action is to try and chop the tree down.

“The estimated value of a tree this age is around £20,000 and the cost to replace it with a tree of suitable size will be high. There is considerable public sentiment that the person responsible should face justice and we are fully supporting the police’s investigation.”

Police say if you know the man in the photo, witnessed this vandalism or sold/hired someone a chainsaw on the day of the incident call on 101 quoting reference 1264 of 13 October.

Crawley Borough Council says it does not permit anybody to carry out unauthorised work on their trees and doesn’t normally allow the use of, or over flying by, drones in parks, green spaces and other council-owned land for recreational or commercial purposes.

They add that no permission was given.

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