Successful prosecution for damaging protected trees

Tewkesbury Borough Council successfully pursued a prosecution after 100 protected trees were damaged on land at Warren Fruit Farm last year. 


At a hearing at Cheltenham Magistrates Court, Monday, 19 February 2024, Mr Michael Keeley, pleaded guilty to damaging a number of trees at Warren Fruit Farm, Evesham Road, Greet.   


In February 2023, following trench excavation by a mini digger to bury overground service cables, the root system of 108 Lombardy Poplar trees were damaged. The row of trees at the fruit farm which adjoins the B4078 is subject to a Tree Preservation Order (TPO). Formal permission should have been obtained before the work which would have included guidance to limit root damage, but this was neglected.  


Mr Keeley was fined £1,600, reduced from £2,500 for an early guilty plea, and ordered to pay an additional £1,569 in costs and a victim surcharge of £640, totalling £3,809. 


Mr Keeley explained that although he did not own the land at the time the works were undertaken, that he was responsible for the works that caused the damage and that it was not his intention to damage the trees, for which he apologised. 


Cllr Sarah Hands lead member for clean and green said: ‘’We have one of the most impressive landscapes in Gloucestershire and we won’t hesitate to protect tree stocks as it aligns with our net zero and ecology ambitions. My thanks to all of the council’s planning compliance, counter fraud and enforcement unit officers as well as One Legal who worked on this case for their diligence. I hope the result will act as a deterrent to anyone who is considering acting illegally in Tewkesbury Borough.   


‘’Anyone who is thinking about having work on trees on their property or is concerned about trees near them, should first check with the council to ensure the tree is not subject to a preservation order.’’  


For more information on trees in conservation areas, visit 


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