Two OAPs arrested after council fell trees at crack of dawn with POLICE ESCORT

·Data and Politics News Editor, Yahoo News UK
Two women in their 70s were arrested after trying to block the felling of the trees.
Two women in their 70s were arrested after trying to block the felling of the trees.

Two OAPs were arrested in the early hours of Thursday morning after a protest over the felling of trees on their street turned sour.

Jenny Hockey, 70, and her neighbour Freda Bagshawe, 71, were carted off by police after putting up an objection to the council’s plans.

Another man, believed to have been returning home from the pub, was also arrested after he began to hug one of the trees. The three have since been released without charge.

As she was released from custody at 2am this morning, Mrs Hockey said: “We are both cold, hungry and tired. I just don’t want to go back to the street – it’s shocking.

“I don’t want to face going back to my home and the fact that lovely tree is not going to be there and a huge mess will be in its place.”

The pensioners returned home to find the trees had been chopped down (SWNS)
The pensioners returned home to find the trees had been chopped down (SWNS)
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Council workers pull down the trees as disgruntled homeowners look on. (PA)

Mrs Hockey’s husband Bob, 72, labelled his wife’s arrest “absolutely disgraceful”.

“We had Brexit, then Trump – and now this really tops tops off a bad year,” he said.

Tree surgeons arrived under the cover of darkness to chop down the trees on Rustlings Road, Sheffield, accompanied by a cordon of police officers.

Jenny Hockey, 70, and neighbour Freda Bagshawe, 71, were arrested but later released without charge. (PA)
Jenny Hockey, 70, and neighbour Freda Bagshawe, 71, were arrested but later released without charge. (PA)
Workmen arrived in the middle of the night (SWNS)
Workmen arrived in the middle of the night (SWNS)
Workers scale one of the affected trees. (PA)
Workers scale one of the affected trees. (PA)

Residents, who claim they were not informed of the operation in advance, awoke at 5am to the sound of chainsaws.

Jean-March Michel, who has a lime tree earmarked for felling outside his house, said: “We had no idea this was happening today – the first we knew about it was when we heard noises at around 4.45am and the sound of chain saws at 5.15am.

The arrests follow an ongoing legal battle between council chiefs and residents over the felling of trees in the city.

Campaigners failed in a High Court bid in May to block the ‘Streets Ahead’ project, after arguing that Sheffield City Council had failed to be properly consulted about the scheme.

Former Deputy Prime Minister and Sheffield Hallam MP, Nick Clegg, called the felling scheme a “national scandal”.

Former Deputy PM Nick Clegg joined residents of the Sheffield street (SWNS)
Former Deputy PM Nick Clegg joined residents of the Sheffield street (SWNS)

“Whether you think the trees need to come down or not, the way the Council have acted is inexcusable,” he said.

“Relationships between residents and the Council are already strained over this issue and this will only inflame tensions further.”

Council bosses argue that only trees dying or diseased or posing a danger to the public are listed for fell.