Is Treejacking a Thing?

BY NICK PEARCE

Disturbing news has been passed to this magazine – that gangs are going around the countryside pretending to be council workers and cutting down trees for profit.

A resident nearby Torbay Golf Course sent in evidence of oak trees missing from the road next to the course. Over three days a team felled these trees and no one seemed to intervene. The contractors came with vans and trailers. They carried and wore the right gear. They cut off some of the road with official-looking road barriers and flashing lights. Then they disappeared with the tree trunks and left a series of stumps in place where the trees had been.

Neighbours were too busy following Lockdown rules to go within talking distance of these tree surgeons. In any case they looked official and professional enough. The Ash Dieback stories in the news provided the perfect cover story – but these were oaks.

Anyway, a question was asked at a meeting attended by local councillors – were there more trees in that neighbourhood due to be felled? If so, why? And why had the council not written in advance to residents to apologise for any inconvenience?

The councillors – from Torbay Council – were non-plussed. They had not ordered the felling of the trees. The workmen were not official tree surgeons appointed by them. No-one seemed to have any idea who these workers were. The wife of the local MP – herself a councillor – is said to be investigating. Apparently the police have not been called yet.

Rogue tree surgeons we have all heard of before. But tree surgeons going around felling trees in the countryside and elsewhere for cash – from wood and woodburner pellet sales – is a new phenomenon.

If you have heard of any treejackers operating around your area then please do get in touch.

Is treejacking really a thing?