‘We were absolutely distraught’: Tree that was cut in half following ‘petty’ dispute between neighbours becomes Sheffield ‘tourist attraction’

A tree has become a "tourist attraction" after it was chopped in half as a result of a "petty" dispute between neighbours.

The 16ft fir had stood for 25 years
The 16ft fir had stood for 25 years

Bharat Mistry, 56, and his family were "gutted" when his next door neighbours called in tree surgeons to cut half the branches of the 16ft tall Fir Tree that had stood for 25 years.

The drastic action came after a year-long dispute between Mr Mistry and neighbours Graham and Irene Lee, both in their 70s, in the leafy Sheffield suburb of Waterthorpe.

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He claimed Mr and Mrs Lee had complained birds in the tree were making too much noise and making a mess of the drive of his bungalow in Brier Close, a quiet cul-de-sac where houses sell for between £160,000 and £220,000.

Pictures of the tree have gone viral and turned into memes on social media.

Pictures of the tree have gone viral and turned into memes on social media, while locals are visiting just to get a good look at it.

Mr Mistry, a project manager, said: "It has been there for 25 years and we'd trimmed into a ball shape with agreement with the neighbour and he has been fine about it.

"But recently there have been birds in the tree which you would expect at this time of the year.

"He started off by putting black bin liners in the tree to stop the birds sitting there.

"Last weekend he said he was going to get a tree surgeon to cut it down and we asked him not to but they came on Friday and did it."

Mr Mistry and his family watched on in horror as a team of tree surgeons hacked away at their beloved Fir Tree, which had been part of their lawn for a quarter of a century.

He added: "We were absolutely distraught. We pleaded and pleaded with them not to do it, but their mind was made up. That tree was coming down.

"I believe he has the right to cut down anything that is overhanging onto his property.

"But you have to ask, why after 25 years would you do that?

Mr Mistry, who lives in the three-bedroom detached property with his wife and two daughters, said the neighbours had gone on "perfectly fine" until lockdown.

He claimed Mr Lee first started to complain about the trees last March and things came to a head last week.

He added: "I haven't spoken to him since they cut it down.

"It is really sad to look at, because the tree has been there for so long and it's a really pretty tree."

The photograph was anonymously sent into Jeremy Vine's Channel 5 tv show and has since turned into a meme on social media.

Mr Mistry added: "We've had a lot of people walking past to look at it, people you can just tell have come out of their way to walk their dog on a different route to have a look.

"People have stopped to take pictures, there has been a lot posted on social media.

"You think we'd probably do the same if it was another house, but it does feel a bit like an invasion of privacy."

Mr and Mrs Lee declined to speak when approached for comment today (June 23).