The war between two UK neighbours that went viral in 2021 over a tree chopped in half that sparked internet memes is far from over as they are still at loggerheads two years on, according to locals.
The Mistry and Lee families, of Brier Close in Waterthorpe, Sheffield made national headlines when it was revealed that the Lee family had hired a tree surgeon to cut a tree near their property border directly in half as a result of a year-long dispute between Mistry and his neighbours.
The couple reportedly had complained that the tree, which is on the Mistry family’s front garden, had branches hanging over their front driveway and was attracting pigeons and causing a problem with bird mess and coo-ing noises.
After the tree was chopped exactly in half, it immediately became a local tourist attraction, with many reportedly visiting the secluded cul-de-sac to see and photograph it. The Sheffield Star reported that the tree remains cut in half, but it is not known whether tree surgeons have been called back to keep it that way, or whether the branches simply haven’t grown.
One local woman, who wanted to remain anonymous, told a daily newspaper: “The tree used to be normal but then they had a disagreement. Which is why it was later cut down. I don’t know what it was about, but they couldn’t resolve it.” The woman’s husband, who also did not want to be identified, added: “I think they were friendly before though.”
At the time when the tree was cut, Mr Mistry reportedly said: “It has been there for 25 years and we’d trimmed it into a ball shape with agreement with the neighbour and he has been fine about it. But recently there have been birds in the tree which you would expect at this time of the year. He started off by putting black bin liners in the tree to stop the birds sitting there."
Mr Mistry and his family watched in horror as a team of tree surgeons hacked away at their beloved tree despite their pleas. He added: "We were absolutely distraught. We pleaded and pleaded with them not to do it, but their mind was made up. That tree was coming down.
"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?" Mr and Mrs Lee declined to comment when approached by the daily newspaper recently.
The tree shot to fame after a picture of it was anonymously sent into Jeremy Vine’s Channel 5 TV show which later turned into memes on social media, with many calling it a “petty” dispute between neighbours.