- Written by David McKenna & PA Media
- BBC News
Police have arrested a man in his 60s while investigating the felling of a world-famous sycamore tree in Northumberland.
The landmark, located next to Hadrian’s Wall, was destroyed overnight on Wednesday.
Northumbria Police said the man was arrested on Friday evening and remains in custody to assist with investigations.
A 16-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of criminal damage on Thursday and has since been released on bail, police said.
Det Ch Insp Rebecca Fenney-Menzies said: “The senseless destruction of what is undoubtedly a world-famous landmark – and a local treasure – has rightly led to an outpouring of shock, horror and outrage across the North East and beyond.
“I hope this second arrest demonstrates how seriously we take this situation, and our continued commitment to finding those responsible and bringing them to justice.
“Although another arrest has been made, this investigation is still in its early stages and we would continue to encourage any member of the public with information that may help to contact us.
“If you see or hear anything suspicious that may be of interest to us – I implore you to contact us.”
A police presence remained at the scene on Friday, with forensic officers taking measurements and samples from the remains and photographing the area.
One was heard saying: “In 31 years of working in forensics, I have never examined a tree.”
The tree is believed to be around 300 years old, and has been cared for by the Park Authority and the National Trust.
It grew in a natural retreat in the landscape near Hexham and appeared in the 1991 film Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, starring Kevin Costner.
Northumberland National Park Authority officials said the tree was “part of England’s identity” because it was a “true source of inspiration” for artists, writers and photographers.
Chief executive Tony Gates said: “So many people have a deep connection to this place, have fond memories of this place, and losing that is a real shame.”
National Trust director Andrew Boad said the trunk was “healthy” and experts may be able to root the tree, as new shoots grow from the base of the trunk.
However, Mark Feather, estates manager at the Woodland Trust, said it would “take a few years to develop even into a small tree, and about 150 to 200 years before it gets close to what we lost.”
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