Man sentenced for felling neighbour's trees in Norfolk

A man from Norfolk has been sentenced to 80 hours community service for cutting down his neighbour's trees after claiming they interfered with his television reception.

Andrew Partridge, 55, from Harleston, cut down 11 of his neighbour's trees and cut back another 21, Norwich Crown Court heard.

Partridge was found guilty of criminal damage last month.

He was also ordered to £2,500 in compensation at a hearing on Friday.

Television reception

Julian Taylor, who owns Home Farm in Harleston which borders Partridge's home, said he had no idea who was cutting down branches of his trees at the end of 2009 until he saw Partridge.

"He made some lame excuse that he needed to improve his tv reception," Mr Taylor told the BBC.

"The fact was he was clearing the branches from the ground up to about 25ft, which was really, I think, so that he could get a view out to the west."

Mr Taylor, a farmer and vice-chairman of the Royal Norfolk Agricultural Association, said he hoped the sentence would send out a warning and encourage other landowners to take similar action.

"If he had stopped the first time or even the second time I asked, we wouldn't have asked for a prosecution to take place," Mr Taylor said.

Judge Alistair Darroch told Partridge he should not have denied the charge of criminal damage.

"It was a great pity you chose to defend this action," he said.

"You had absolutely no defence and no business to cut down the trees."

Partridge, an unemployed lorry driver, made no comment after the case.

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