A couple have come up with a drastic solution after objecting to a neighbour’s tree which was partly covering their drive.

Graham and Irene Lee, both in their 70s, decided to slice the 25-year-old fir tree in half by removing all the branches on their side, according to their neighbour.

It’s the culmination of a ‘petty’ row’ between residents of the two bungalows in the Sheffield suburb of Waterthorpe.

Bharat Mistry, 56, said the Lees called in tree surgeons after complaining birds in the tree were making too much noise and causing a mess on their drive.

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 were ‘gutted’ as they watched on in horror while a team of tree surgeons hacked away at the tree.

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? It must have been no more than 3ft onto his land.

‘We had asked if we could get it trimmed back and put a net in it so it would stop birds getting in, but there was no compromise with them.’

Mr Mistry, who lives in the three-bedroom detached property with his wife and two daughters, said the neighbours had previously got on ‘perfectly fine’.

But at the start of lockdown in March 2020, the problems with the tree started and now they are no longer speaking.

‘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,’ he said.

‘He used to bring the bins in for us, it’s such a shame it has come to this. It is really sad to look at, because the tree has been there for so long and it’s a really pretty tree.’

The tree has become an unlikely tourist attraction in the area with people making detours just to see it.

A woman who lives on the same street, who wished to remain anonymous, said she thought it was a ‘shame’ to see what had happened to it.

‘It’s a lovely tree and just adds to the feature of the house and the street,’ she said.

‘It’s such a shame to see it go, surely there could have been another solution if there was an issue with birds.

‘If they had tied it up with a net and kept it looking neat, that would have been better.’

Mr and Mrs Lee declined to speak when approached for comment today.

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