Teenager trying to save tree sparks stand-off with emergency services

The emergency services were involved in a stand-off with a teenager perched in the branches of a 100-year-old tree to stop it from being cut down.

Thea Robinson had scampered up the laurel when tree surgeons arrived at Holmefield Court in Belsize Grove to hack it down.

Firefighters and a paramedic were called to the scene in case the 19-year-old fell from the tree, two metres above the ground. Ms Robinson, who lives in neighbouring Howitt Road with her parents, stood her ground for more than an hour and a half before clambering down.

Ms Robinson, whose house is shielded from the three-storey block of flats by the tree, said: “It was cold, but worth it. I wanted to save the tree. It’s probably 100 years old and squirrels and birds live in there, it provides oxygen.”

Camden Council has approved the removal of the tree after the owner of Holmefield Court claimed it was causing subsidence. Planning officials chose not to grant the laurel a reprieve because it did not “enhance the public realm”.