Sheffield tree felling site 'like a Monty Python sketch', solicitor claims as protester appears in court

A solicitor likened the scenes at a tree felling site in Sheffield to a Monty Python sketch as she defended a protester charged with criminal offences.

Tuesday, 1st May 2018, 12:35 pm
Updated Tuesday, 1st May 2018, 12:41 pm
Tree felling works are currently on hold across Sheffield.

Abigail Rolling made the comparison as tree campaigner Robert Pearson denied charges of threatening and abusive behaviour and obstructing a police officer at Sheffield Magistrates' Court.

Claire Jackson, prosecuting, said Pearson, 48, faces the charges in relation to a protest at a tree felling site on February 26.

Miss Rolling said: "It's a day when there is a large volume of police - about 50 it is believed.

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She added: "It's almost like a Monty Python sketch."

Fellow tree campaigners filled the public gallery to show their support for Pearson during the hearing.

Judge Philip Houlden granted Pearson conditional bail and set a trial date of July 9 at Sheffield Magistrates' Court.

The controversial tree felling works have been on hold since March.

Sheffield Council said only trees which are deemed to be dangerous will be worked on, while the council and contractor Amey, who are carrying out the works as part of a £2.2 billion highways improvement contract, review how to complete the work.

Arborists are felling and replacing trees deemed dangerous, dead, diseased, dying or which are said to be damaging streets and pavements but objectors to the scheme have staged a number of protests across the city.

Trees earmarked for felling are fenced or cordoned off and a court injunction is in place making it illegal for protesters to enter the safety zones. But a number of cordons have been breached, leading to a number of arrests.