Nick Baker (37), a successful marketer from Warsash, Hampshire, has been fined £80,000 for cutting down 100-year-old trees. It involved sixteen protected oaks that apparently blocked millionaire Baker’s view of the Hamble River.

    Nick Baker has a company worth £100 million (115 million euros). He lives in Warsash in Hampshire, England, in a house worth more than 5.75 million euros. His neighbor is 88-year-old David Hunt, a young sailor who won Olympic silver at the 1972 Games in Munich.

    In Hunt’s garden there are hundred-year-old oaks. The trees are protected. Baker had asked the neighbor through his gardener if he could prune some branches from the trees. Baker claimed he feared “storm damage”. He also told the judge that he was allowed to prune as much as he wanted. Which Baker couldn’t be told twice. His workmen reduced the protected oak trees to stumps. This gave the millionaire a better view of the Hamble and the sailing boats that sail over it.

    A lawsuit ensued and Baker lost. The court did not want to know that Baker tried to shift the blame onto his neighbor and the gardeners. The elderly Hunt denied that he had authorized the felling of the trees. “He said he wanted to do some pruning to get a better view,” Hunt said in a statement. “I said yes, he could prune, but he couldn’t cut down trees.”

    Ultimately, Baker pleaded guilty to breaking pruning laws and was sentenced to a fine of £80,000 and £1,415 in costs. “It is impossible to put a price on the loss of the trees – but we must impose a fine as a deterrent,” he said.

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