Two tree surgeons have been slapped with a fine for excessively pruning a protected tree in a popular village park. 

A copper beech tree in Wooburn Manor Park, Wooburn Green - which has a tree protection order (TPO) on it - was cut back by William Holmes of WH Tree Care and Richard Burton of RJ Burton and Son Treework Ltd. 

The tree was deemed to be "significant" to the local area, but was pruned too much by the pair - potentially limiting its life expectancy, according to the arboricultural officer for Wycombe District Council (WDC). 

On February 28, the tree surgeons pleaded guilty to carrying out the work at Wycombe Magistrates' Court and were prosecuted. 

The court heard how the owner of the property had correctly applied for and been given permission to reduce the crown of the tree by 20 per cent in May 2016 and, after the original tree surgeon had been unable to do the works, had approached Mr Holmes to complete the job.

Mr Holmes, of Walton Lane, Farnham Royal, asked Richard Burton, of The Lagger in Chalfont St Giles, to help with the work. 

Both men were aware that the tree was the subject of a TPO and that there was a limit on the extent of the works that could be carried out, but the work went ahead. 

Wycombe District Council received a complaint about the work on March 2 last year and investigations found that the permitted works to the branches had been exceeded by 125 per cent. 

Mr Holmes pleaded guilty to an offence of causing Richard Burton to lop the copper beech tree, in breach of the TPO. 

Mr Burton pleaded guilty to lopping the tree in breach of the TPO. The pair have 21 days to appeal their sentences. 

Cllr David Johncock, cabinet member for planning and sustainability, said: “We are serious about protecting our environment and especially the trees that have TPOs on them. 

"I hope this shows that we will pursue people who disregard the protection we put in place.”