Two Men Are Charged Over the Felling of the Sycamore Gap Tree

Two men in their 30s were charged on Tuesday in connection with the chopping down last year of the 200-year-old Sycamore Gap tree, which stood in a dip along Hadrian’s Wall in northern England.

The beloved sycamore’s mysterious felling, which took place on a stormy September night, led to an outpouring of sorrow, anger and confusion at the senselessness of the act: Why would anyone cut down one of Britain’s most iconic trees?

Two men, Daniel Graham, 38, and Adam Carruthers, 31, from Cumbria, England, were charged with damaging both the tree and part of Hadrian’s Wall, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, according to the local Northumbria Police. Hadrian’s Wall, about 100 miles southeast of Edinburgh and near England’s border with Scotland, was built by the Roman Army after the emperor Hadrian’s visit to Britain in A.D. 122.

“We recognize the strength of feeling in the local community and further afield the felling has caused, however we would remind people to avoid speculation, including online, which could impact the ongoing case,” Detective Chief Inspector Rebecca Fenney, the senior office on the case, said in a statement on Tuesday.

Mr. Graham and Mr. Carruthers are expected to appear in court on May 15, according to the Crown Prosecution Service, the public prosecutor for England and Wales. It was not immediately clear what lawyers were representing the two men.

The police arrested Mr. Graham and Mr. Carruthers in October in connection with the felling of the tree, and they were released on bail. Two others were also arrested after the episode: a 16-year-old boy and a farmer in his 60s, though the police later said that they would face no further action.

Seven months after the felling of the tree, which was featured in the 1991 film “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves,” the police have not said whether they have uncovered any possible motivation for the crime. The chopping down of the tree occurred in a sparsely populated area, at least a 20-minute walk from the nearest parking lot, complicating the police investigation. The cut on the tree was clean and appeared to have been made using a large heavy-duty chain saw.

When deciding whether to prosecute a criminal case, the British police weigh whether there is enough evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction, and whether prosecuting is in the public interest, according to the Crown Prosecution Service. Arrests in Britain can be made only if police have “reasonable grounds” to suspect involvement in a crime.

For those who have mourned the loss of the tree, the National Trust, a conservation society, offered some hopeful news in March: Seeds and material that had been collected from the Sycamore Gap tree after it was felled had started to sprout.

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