A company director whose dog became unwell after eating fruit from trees in his garden has been fined after cutting down three historic trees.
Ismail Elmagdoub, 39, a business development director and racehorse owner, has been ordered to pay almost £9,000 in fines and costs after getting rid of the trees in his Cotswold home.
Elmagdoub also said the trees were “causing issues” for his family, as not only did the apples make his pet sick, but the trees were also attracting wasps.
He told a court that he employed a contractor in March to get rid of the trees in the former orchard.
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At the time, a neighbour witnessed him attempting to cut down the trees and tried to warn him against it, however, it fell on deaf ears.
The 39-year-old apologised and said he had “acted without thought” but was ordered to pay £8,884 in fines and costs.
Elmagdoub was fined £4,224 and ordered to pay £2,970 prosecution costs and a victim surcharge of £1,690.
The businessman said he “acted in haste to protect my family” and regretted his actions.
He told The Mail: “I didn’t realise that my garden fence was also the boundary of the conservation area. The trees were about 8ft from the boundary – we’d had a few wasp nests up there and my daughter had been stung. My dog developed diabetes as a result of eating the apples.
“I’ve never been in trouble with the law before and it wasn’t a pleasant experience yesterday (going to court).”
He said he was now keen to work with the Cotswold District Council’s Tree Officer.
A spokesman for the council said the company director felled the trees without prior notice to the authority “as is required by law”.
They added: “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.
“The Council’s Tree Officer believes the apple trees to have been at least 60 years old and historic mapping indicates the site to have been an orchard from at least 1891.
“He pleaded guilty at Cheltenham Magistrates Court on Monday to felling the trees without consent last March.”
The trees are part of a wider historic orchard that was on the site from the 1890s. The three that Elmagdoub cut down are understood to be around 60 years old.
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.
It was brought with assistance from both the Council’s Counter Fraud and Enforcement Unit (CFEU) and Legal Service.
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