Hunstanton councillor admits tree damage charge

Borough Council of King's Lynn and West Norfolk Councillors ENGANL00120130214162659
Borough Council of King's Lynn and West Norfolk Councillors ENGANL00120130214162659
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A West Norfolk councillor has today been ordered to pay more than £2,000 in fines and costs in a prosecution brought by the authority he is a member of.

Paul Beal, who represents the Hunstanton ward, has pleaded guilty to a charge of damaging a tree in a conservation area in a manner likely to destroy it.

His co-defendant Raymond Bush also pleaded guilty to the same charge, which court documents said relates to a tree at Beal’s home in King’s Lynn Road, Hunstanton

Lynn magistrates this morning fined Beal £1,065 and ordered him to pay a further £705.36 in prosecution costs, a £180 criminal courts charge and a £106 victim surcharge.

Court papers said Beal had carried out work on the tree between January 2013 and April this year.

And, passing sentence, presiding magistrate Simmy Potter told him he should have known there were conservation restrictions in force in the area.

She added: “We do feel this was reckless.”

Meanwhile, Bush, of Seagate Road, Hunstanton, was fined £250 and told to pay £250 costs, a £180 criminal courts charge and a £25 victim surcharge.

Mrs Potter told him: “We feel you were acting under instruction. You were negligent, rather than reckless.”

The prosecution was brought by West Norfolk Council under two sections of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

The law is intended to stop people from cutting down, uprooting or destroying a tree that is subject to a preservation order, or from damaging, lopping or topping such a tree in a way that is likely to destroy it.