David Matthews, 67, ignored the Poole Council's Tree Preservation Orders (TPO) for the 100 year old plants and cut them off with a chainsaw
A millionaire businessman who felled 11 protected trees outside his home at £ 1.4m to increase his value was sentenced to pay £ 170,000.
67-year-old David Matthews used a chainsaw to cut the 100-year-old trees apart to increase the size of his garden and the amount of light he received, and increased its value by an estimated 137,500 pounds.
The trees, which included mature oak, beech and chestnut trees and which grew in his home in a wealthy area of Wimborne, Dorset, were protected by a 2001 Poole Borough Council Conservation Order.
Matthews is now red in the face after a judge ordered him to pay the sum plus £ 32,000 in fines and court costs to give his property, which he had built after the purchase of the five hectare property, a "significant advantage" procure.
Southampton Crown Court heard the former director of a £ 2 million scrap shop cut down the trees last February because he feared their branches would fall on his grandchildren.
The 11 trees, which included a full-grown oak, beech and horse chestnut tree, were protected by an order from the Poole Borough Council in 2001
They were chipped from the area photographed in Google Earth using a chainsaw
Judge Jane Rowley said, however, that there was "overwhelming evidence" that their removal had increased the value of the house.
Judge Rowley also said that appraisers found that after the trees were removed, significant changes were made to the house that allowed him to "enjoy a bespoke piece of land."
She said: “There was more light on the east side of the property, a larger usable garden that allowed the terrace to be expanded.
From the evidence I had, I found that there was clear evidence of a significant improvement due to tree removal.
All experts have recognized significant improvements that would have significantly increased the property's value, which could benefit Matthews.
Matthews & # 39; property had an estimated added value of £ 137,500 after building it on the five hectare property (Image)
Judge Jane Rowley said there was "overwhelming evidence" that the removal of the trees had increased the value of the house. (Image) The trees after they were felled in February
Matthews is said to have chopped the protected trees with a chainsaw
& # 39; I find it completely unimaginable that the value would have remained unchanged after these improvements.
& # 39; There is overwhelming evidence of added value.
“You had full knowledge of the Tree Protection Ordinance after working with the Council beforehand.
"You have received a clear warning in the past – your actions to fell trees were criminal."
Prosecutor Tom Horder said: "This was an intentional act that was carried out with full knowledge of the conservation order."
Mr. Horder added that the £ 137,500 seizure requested under the crime proceeds regulation is not responsible for Matthew's personal enjoyment of more light and space.
Matthews, who owns two other properties where members of his family live, said he felled the trees because he was "impatient".
Kevin Hill said mildly, "Matthews said in his interview that he knew it was wrong to fell the trees, but he had been impatient, he was an impatient man."
"He felled the trees because he was worried that branches would fall in an area where the grandchildren regularly play."
Matthews was reported to the council by a member of the council in February when they noticed that the trees had been felled. (Image) An image from Google Earth with the brown area on the back that represents the room they were removed from
The removal of the trees is said to have added an estimated £ 137,500 to the father of two homes
Two-time father Matthews was ordered to pay £ 137,500 to cover the proceeds of the crime, a £ 12,000 fine for felling the trees, £ 20,000 costs and a £ 170,670 sacrifice allowance.
Andy Dearing, team enforcement manager on the council, said: “Destroying the 11 trees that are subject to a Flambards Tree Ordinance was an intentional act by Mr. Matthews.
& # 39; This despite a written warning from the council regarding unauthorized tree work on its property in 2015.
After the trees were destroyed, Matthews gave his property a significant advantage in terms of lighting and equipment on the east side.
"The proceeds of the Crime Regulation reflect Mr. Matthews' financial gain and the seriousness with which the court treats these offenses."
City Councilwoman Jane Newell said it would take hundreds of years for the trees to grow again. (Image) Matthew's house in Wimborne, Dorset, where the trees were removed
A member of the public reported the crime to the council on Monday morning after the trees were felled.
He was examined by the Poole Council, who later accused him of deliberately destroying protected trees.
City councilor Jane Newell said: “There are strict tree protection rules to create wildlife habitats that contribute to the ecological balance of our landscape.
& # 39; These rules were clearly violated.
“It will take hundreds of years for new trees to grow and replace the brutally felled ones.
"I am delighted that the council officials have acted quickly and launched successful prosecutions."
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