A businessman responsible for illegally felling a protected yew tree has been ordered to pay a total

Angelo Esposito, 35, who wanted to create more parking spaces for a flat conversion, was criticised in court for his "cavalier disregard" of planning laws.

The Recorder of Chester, Judge Elgan Edwards, said: "This is a case of someone who is motivated by financial gain and who is prepared to do anything to increase his profits."

Esposito was ordered to pay back £13,750 under the Proceeds of Crime Act and fined £10,000. He must also pay the prosecution costs of £4,896.

He ordered workmen to dig up the garden of a property he owned in Eaton Road, Chester, because he wanted to earn more rent, Chester Crown Court heard.

He planned to create extra parking spaces but he knew the work would cause the protected yew tree to be felled. Work was carried out without permission, damaging the tree so badly that there was no choice but to chop it down.

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Montrose Trees Ltd, 216 Hamlet Court Road, Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex, SS0 7DE

Reg - 08993397