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If half a tree falls in the UK, do the birds make a sound?
The answer for one Sheffield residence, they’d hoped, was no — as they took to their own devices to deal with a noisy bird issue stemming from a tree that sits between their own and their next-door neighbor’s property line.
Now, the awkwardly severed tree has become a local “tourist attraction” in South Yorkshire county — but the family left with only half a tree said they are “gutted” over the dispute.
“We were absolutely distraught,” said Bharat Mistry, 56, now the owner of a lopsided, 16-foot fir tree in his front yard. “We pleaded and pleaded with them not to do it, but their mind was made up. That tree was coming down.”
Mistry told South West News Service that he has been mired in a quarrel with his neighbors, Graham and Irene Lee, for about a year over the cacophonous birds that made their home in the shared fir tree.
Attempts to cut back the tree to discourage birds from congregating weren’t enough to satisfy Mistry’s neighbors, who declined to comment to SWNS. Sick of alleged noise and mess caused by the roosting birds — “which you would expect at this time of the year,” Mistry said — they insisted that the tree must come down.
“We’d trimmed into a ball shape with agreement with the neighbor and he has been fine about it,” Mistry explained. “We had asked if we could get it trimmed back and put a net in it so it would stop birds getting in, but there was no compromise with them.”
Despite his best efforts to persuade the Lees, Mistry conceded it was their property to manage. However, last weekend the Leeds told tree surgeons to cut back the branches over their driveway.
“It has been there for 25 years,” Minstry said. “I believe he has the right to cut down anything that is overhanging onto his property. But you have to ask: Why, after 25 years, would you do that?”
What remains — a tree sliced perfectly in half — has since become a meme for “traditional British pettiness” online, according to SWNS. An image circulated online of the asymmetrical fir has since appeared on UK television and across social media.
The Mistry family has said their arboreal aberration has made them “Instagram famous without meaning to.”
They’re saddened not only at losing half a tree, but also a family they once called friends.
“We have never had any issues with them before this — we got on fine,” Mistry said of their plight. “Our children would play with their grandchildren when they were younger; we’ve always got on.”
An unidentified resident of the community said they sympathized with the Mistrys, according to a Guardian report. “When I saw it, I just thought ‘Oh my God, what a shame,’ ” the woman said. “It’s a lovely tree and adds to the feature of the house and the street.”
Another anonymous local who spoke to the agency added, “It ruins the visual aspect for everyone.”
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