It’s fair to say in 2023 we’ve had some rather left field headlines, none less than the sad news about Sycamore Gap.
On Thursday 28 September, the historic landmark along Hadrian’s Wall was cut down in what is said to have been a ‘deliberate act of vandalism‘.
Firstly, a 16-year-old boy was arrested on suspicion of criminal damage before being released on bail. Then a man in his 60s was then arrested on Friday evening in connection with the cutting down of the tree.
And now, the accused man has spoken out.
Walter Renwick, 69, denied cutting down the tree and has since been released from custody.
A retired lumberjack (of course he was), he told the Mail:
“The speculation is bloody ridiculous. I’ll tell you this much, I wouldn’t be so sad to do that.
“It was a lovely tree, an iconic tree, but I mean to go up there and cut that down, I’m not that stupid.”
After losing a two-year battle, Renwick has been ordered to quit the property where he ran a tourist campsite.
And he told The Sun that he understands why people might be blaming him:
“I didn’t do it. I am a former lumberjack and I have just been kicked off my property, so I can see why people have pointed the finger.
“My brother came down to make sure I hadn’t been arrested as he had heard the rumours. It’s very sad. It’s an iconic tree.”
Locals are reportedly furious with this act against the beloved tree and it’s sparked outrage across Britain. I mean, not exactly in the circles that most of us are in, but with people who this kind of thing apparently means something to.
At the time of his arrest, Detective Chief Inspector Rebecca Fenney-Menzies, of Northumbria Police, said:
“The senseless destruction of what is undoubtedly a world-renowned landmark – and a local treasure – has quite rightly resulted in an outpour of shock, horror and anger throughout the North East and further afield. I hope this second arrest demonstrates just how seriously we’re taking this situation, and our ongoing commitment to find those responsible and bring them to justice.”