And finally… special branch

A man accused of “butchering” a tree near his property has been ordered to pay £21,000 under proceeds of crime legislation.

Samuel Wilson, 40, added £21,000 to the value of his home by illegally chopping back a tree that was subject to a preservation order, The Times reports.

The 42-foot oak tree, which overshadowed his balcony, was irreparably damaged after he cut off several 12-foot-long branches without permission.

In a first-of-its-kind case, Wilson has been ordered by Bournemouth Crown Court to pay the local authority the equivalent amount.

Andy Dearing, the enforcement team manager at Poole council, said: “We are not aware of any other case in the UK where there has been a proceeds of crime case based on the benefit of improved light to a property from the destruction of a tree.

“The Proceeds of Crime Act took the matter to another level, because it looked at the benefit of that criminal activity and we said it was to gain an increase of between £21,000 to £30,000 in the value of his property.”

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