A pernickety neighbour called in tree surgeons to hack a 16ft fir tree EXACTLY in half because its overhanging branches were attracting birds and causing a mess on his drive – despite living with it for 25 years with 'no problem'.
The astonishing 'petty' action was sparked shortly after lockdown last year between neighbours Bharat Mistry and Graham and Irene Lee, who live in Waterthorpe, Sheffield.
But things came to a head last week when Mr Mistry and his family watch in horror as their beloved fir tree was sawn in half despite him offering alternative solutions such as trimming it back and netting.
Mr Mistry, 56, who works as 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 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.
"It is above head height, the bottom of the branches start at about 8ft high and we have cut off the branches lower down to be amiable with them.
"He can get his car on and off the drive with no issues.
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"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 he was 'gutted' when the pretty tree was cut down and has become really sad to look at.
He added: "I haven't spoken to him since they cut it down."
And the unusual sight has since gone viral on social media as well as a local curiosity for walkers.
Mr Mistry added: "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.
A picture of the tree was sent anonymously to Channel 5's Jeremy Vine show with Host Jemma Forte saying the decision to cut the tree in half was "really petty".
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