An Inverness resident chopped down 20 trees on land that does not belong to him because they were blocking his view – but soon realised his mistake when police arrived.
Cradlehall man Donald Macdonald employed someone to cut down a cluster of 15 to 20ft silver birch trees at the edge of a field bordering Caulfield Road and owned by Tulloch Homes.
A police spokesman confirmed yesterday that they had received a report about the incident, which has sparked anger among local residents.
Last night a spokesman for Tulloch Homes said about 20 trees were felled and removed from their land without their permission.
He added: “The police officer asked if we wanted to charge the culprit but we had a word with the offender who apologised and offered compensation.
“We advised him that the planning authority should be consulted about the incident. However, we are willing to reach an agreement in which new trees are planted, either directly by the culprit or by ourselves with costs met by the person involved. On that basis, we are content that no police action is taken.
“It is very unusual and highly disappointing to have trees felled without consent on land we own and maintain.”
Last night, Mr Macdonald said he had resolved the issue with the landowners and that some smaller tree saplings would be planted there to replace the felled trees, which he says he will pay for. He said the trees were too tall and blocking his view north.
Yesterday, police officers were seen speaking to Mr Macdonald by the roadside.
Inverness South councillor Duncan Macpherson said he came across a man yesterday with a chainsaw cutting down the trees on Mr Macdonald’s behalf.
Mr Macpherson said the police involvement will “send out a message” to others not to replicate Mr Macdonald’s mistake, adding: “We fight to maintain green spaces and the community wanted this as green space. There were motorbikes and scramblers using it in the past. It’s now a good area to walk the dog or for parents to take their children.”
Kath Fraser, Cradlehall and Westhill Community Council chairwoman, said: “If you are walking along the road it does not look very nice. I think it’s vandalism cutting trees down that are not your own.”
Another local resident, who did not want to be named, said: “Lots of people round here are just a bit annoyed about it because the trees are quite young, and what everyone hopes to see at the end of the day is this area established as as a bit of woodland.
“Kids go sledging up there and people walk their dogs, and there is wildlife and it provides a bit of community green space.”