A MAN has been ordered to pay nearly £10K after chopping down three ancient apple trees - because they were 'attracting wasps'.

Ismail Elmagdoub, of Blockley, employed someone to fell the trees in his garden which lies in what was an orchard dating back to 1891.

He said he did it because his dog was eating the apples, as well as wasps.

Elmagdoub pleaded guilty to destroying the trees - believed to have each been 60 years old and located within a conservation area.

His said the fallen fruit was causing his dog to become unwell and were attracting wasps which were causing issues for his family.

Elmagdoub has now been ordered to pay £8884 by Cotswold District Council.

The trees were felled by a contractor organised by Mr Elmagdoub without prior notice to Cotswold District Council as is required by law in March.

The trees were located within the rear garden of the property which is situated in the Blockley Conservation Area.

A witness observed the contractor beginning to cut down the trees and advised the contractor the trees were in a conservation area.

Despite raising concerns with the contractor and the homeowner, their concerns were dismissed and the trees were cut down.

At Cheltenham Magistrates Court, Elmagdoub pleaded guilty to felling the trees without consent from the council.

He was fined £4224 and ordered to pay an additional £2970 in costs and a victim surcharge of £1690, taking the total costs to £8884.

Elmagdoub apologised for the felling of the trees and stated that he ‘acted without thought’ and that he is keen to work with the council’s tree officer.

Robert Weaver, chief executive of Cotswold District Council, said: “Preserving our natural heritage is a shared responsibility, and we encourage residents to engage with us to ensure sustainable decision-making.

"The outcome of this case underscores the importance of engaging with the council to ensure we protect and enhance our shared environment for future generations."

The prosecution was brought by Cotswold District Council’s Heritage and Conservation Team with assistance from both the Council’s Counter Fraud and Enforcement Unit and Legal Service.

More information concerning trees in conservation areas can be found on the council’s website at: https://www.cotswold.gov.uk/planning-and-building/tree-works-and-preservation/trees-in-conservation-areas/