A MAN is out of pocket by more than £1,500 after chopping down an oak tree on his own land.

Haulage contractor Peter Seales, of Juliette Way, Purfleet, was ordered to pay a £667 fine, £828 costs and a £66 victim surcharge after pleading guilty to contravening a tree preservation order issued by Basildon Council.

Basildon Magistrates’ Court heard that onOctober 23 last year Seales caused, or permitted, the destruction of a protected oak on land he owns south of St Annes, Southbourne Grove, Wickford.

After the court hearing, Richard Moore, Basildon councillor responsible for planning, said: “This sends out a very strong message that this kind of wilful destruction and complete disregard of the law will not be tolerated in our borough.”