LONDON, Sept 29, (Agencies): A cherished tree that has graced the landscape alongside Britain’s historic Hadrian’s Wall for over two centuries has fallen victim to what authorities are deeming a deliberate act of vandalism. The sycamore tree, situated within the Northumberland National Park in northern England, gained global recognition when it featured prominently in Kevin Costner’s 1991 blockbuster film, “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.”
Law enforcement officials have taken a 16-year-old into custody in connection with the incident, believed to have occurred overnight on Thursday. This iconic tree, located at a site known as “Sycamore Gap,” stood sentinel along the UNESCO World Heritage-listed Hadrian’s Wall, which was erected approximately 1,900 years ago to safeguard the Roman Empire’s northwestern frontier.
Sycamore Gap had earned a reputation as one of England’s most photographed trees and received the prestigious title of English Tree of the Year in 2016. The National Trust, a heritage charity that shares custodianship of the site, expressed deep shock and sorrow over the tree’s felling.
Andrew Poad, the North East general manager at the National Trust, lamented, “The tree has been an important and iconic feature in the landscape for nearly 200 years and means a lot to the local community and to anyone who has visited the site.”
The Northumberland National Park Authority has initiated collaboration with relevant agencies and partners invested in preserving this iconic North East landmark. In the interest of safety, the National Park authorities urged visitors to refrain from approaching the site during the cleanup and restoration process.
The local police, initially treating the incident as a suspected deliberate act of vandalism, have taken a 16-year-old individual into custody. The investigation is in its early stages, with the youth assisting officers with their inquiries.
Described by the police force as a world-renowned landmark, the tree’s desecration has elicited profound shock and anger within the local community and beyond, as conveyed in a statement by Northumbria Police. Superintendent Kevin Waring expressed deep sadness, remarking, “This is an incredibly sad day. The tree was iconic to the North East and enjoyed by so many who live in or who have visited this region.”
Assurances were given that anyone found responsible for this act of damage, believed to be a deliberate act of vandalism, would face swift and appropriate consequences.
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