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Pub offers £1,500 free bar tab for information on who felled iconic Sycamore Gap Tree, as teenager arrested
29 September 2023, 05:27 | Updated: 29 September 2023, 05:28
A pub owner is offering £1,500 of free drinks to anyone who can help find the person who cut down the Sycamore Gap tree.
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National Park officials said on Thursday they believed the iconic Hadrian's Wall tree, which also featured in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, was "deliberately felled" overnight.
Northumbria Police began an investigation, and a 16-year-old boy has been arrested on suspicion of criminal damage.
But some have speculated that the work must have been more organised, with a line of white paint on the tree suggesting the felling was planned, rather than spontaneous.
One person said on Twitter: "No way could a 16-year-old wimpy kid do that on his own. I smell a rat."
Now the Twice Brewed pub, which is less than a mile from the Sycamore Gap, has offered the free bar tab to anyone who can help solve the mystery and bring the tree vandal to justice.
"Everyone at The Twice Brewed Inn is devastated by the senseless felling of the beloved Sycamore Gap tree," they said on Facebook.
"This iconic landmark is woven throughout The Twice Brewed - from our logo to our sister Brewery's award-winning ale - and we are truly appalled by its destruction.
"We are offering a £1,500 bar tab as a reward to the person who provides information to Northumbria Police that leads to the arrest and conviction of whoever is responsible for destroying such a precious beacon of natural beauty on Hadrian's Wall."
The sycamore, which stood in a dramatic dip in Hadrian's Wall that could be seen from the nearby road, was looked after by both Northumberland National Park Authority and the National Trust.
The National Trust said it was "shocked and saddened" to confirm that the "iconic" tree had been cut down overnight after pictures emerged on Thursday morning of it lying on its side near the ancient Roman wall, which is a Unesco World Heritage site.
Superintendent Kevin Waring, of Northumbria Police, said: "This is a world-renowned landmark and the events of today have caused significant shock, sadness and anger throughout the local community and beyond.
"An investigation was immediately launched following this vandalism, and this afternoon we have arrested one suspect in connection with our enquiries.
"Given our investigation remains at a very early stage, we are keeping an open mind.
"I am appealing to the public for information to assist us - if you have seen or heard anything suspicious that may be of interest to us, please let us know.
"Any information - no matter how small or insignificant you think it may be - could prove absolutely crucial to our enquiries."
A woman who scattered her brother's ashes at the tree said she was "grieving all over again" after its felling.
Heather Sutherland, from Newcastle, told LBC the image of the tree lying on the ground sent a "physical jolt through my body", before she burst in to tears.
She told LBC: "It can be really difficult to find the good when you're dealing with suicide loss, so I specifically chose the tree as a location, I wanted to mark our sibling relationship that focused on laughs and smiles, and the connection we had as brother and sister.
"I always felt in Sycamore Gap I had a place of calm, stability, focus and a place I could go to when I felt the need. It felt a freeing but also really reflective place."
Heather told LBC it was also a way for her young daughter to connect with her late uncle. She said: "My daughter never knew my brother, but she knows the tree as Martin's tree."
She said when she saw the tree had been felled, she was "stunned".
Heather added: "I did feel a physical jolt through my body and my breath was taken away, and then I was crying - about its felling, but more realising I wouldn't be able to see it again.
"During the pandemic I did struggle with not knowing when I could get there again, and I don't like feeling the same way again.
"I've just been thinking - how could someone do that? How could someone do such a thing? An act that makes zero sense and appears to have zero real reason has taken away the ability to make future positive memories for me, for my family, and for countless other people both inside and outside of the North East."
Meanwhile, a fund has been created for a “bronze full size replica of the tree” to be cast and put in its place.“This iconic tree means so much to so many and to destroy it leaves a scar on the both the County and the Country,” a GoFundMe page states.
The fund has not been set up in connection with the National Trust.
A spokesperson for the trust said there are not current plans for a replacement.