• Friday, December 09, 2022

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Elderly couple cut neighbours’ fir tree in half

The family living next door are dismayed by their neighbour’s action. (Representative Image: iStock)

By: Sattwik Biswal

SOCIAL MEDIA has branded them as ‘pettiest neighbours ever’ after retired Irene and Graham Lee chopped their neighbour’s fir tree in half in a boundary row.

The elderly neighbours chopped the 15ft fir tree outside their home in a south Yorkshire suburb last week and said they would “do it again”.

Bharat Mistry, 56, a project manager and his family living next door are dismayed by their neighbour’s action. He said they chopped the tree because pigeons were nesting there and spoiling their driveway with droppings.

Irene Lee, 75, shot back and told MailOnline: “The birds weren’t really the problem, the tree was blocking our driveway.

“What you can see at the moment is a third of what the tree was – we had two thirds of it hanging over on our side.

“We got it professionally trimmed, afterwards the tree surgeon told me ‘you know it’s going to grow back?’

“If that’s the case then I’ll cut it again, especially if it grows out too much.

“The neighbours may own the tree but if it overhangs on our property then we are legally allowed to trim it back.”

Irene and 77-year-old Graham have been living in their bungalow in Waterthorpe, a suburb of Sheffield, since the 1980s.

The Mistry family says when they moved in 1994, the fir was already there.

Both the families got on well for 30 years but last March Graham complained about the tree obstructing his car when he drove through the driveway.

Mistry claims to have told his neighbours numerous times that he would get the tree pruned when he got a quote from a local tree surgeon that was too high. He added that he was waiting for another quote when his neighbours took matter into their own hands.

Mistry told MailOnline: “I’d spoken to both Irene and Graham about trimming the tree back and I’d contacted a tree surgeon I’ve used in the past but he was charging me three times what he did before and it was too expensive.

“We’d had the tree trimmed back many times before to keep it above head height and allow Graham to drive his car onto the driveway without it being scratched.

“But they were angry at the noise and the mess the pigeons were making. I told them that they are wild birds and birds nest in trees.

“Graham used to hit the tree with a big stick to get rid of the birds and had even been putting bin liners over the branches to stop them from nesting in it. By the time the tree surgeon had finished he’d pulled out at least 20 rubbish sacks.

“He came round to cut the tree back last Friday just before the England-Scotland game. We just watched dumbfounded.

“Irene and Graham obviously didn’t want to wait for me to arrange it and did it themselves but I don’t think that tree will ever grow back properly.

“It’s a shame we’ve been living here 28 years and that tree was here before we moved in. It could have only have been hanging over onto their property by about three foot.”

Mistry said he and his wife Sangita have not spoken to their neighbours since.

He added: “We have never had any issues with them before this, we got on fine. Our children would play with their grandchildren when they were younger, we’ve always got on.

“Graham started complaining about the birds making noise, but my daughter sleeps in the front bedroom and she can’t hear anything.

“He tried to say they have made a mess of his drive but he parks his car there and I haven’t seen any evidence of that on his car.

“He used to bring the bins in for us, it’s such a shame it has come to this.”

Eastern Eye

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