ANGRY residents have hit out after a large Silver Birch tree near their homes was chopped down without any prior warning - leaving them "distressed".

People living in the De Grey Court area of Clifton, York, say they were shocked to be woken at 7.30am by tree surgeons gathering on the site and preparing to remove the tree.

A few of the elderly residents said they attempted to stop the tree being chopped down.

The police were even called and work was halted until authorisation was obtained by Taylor Wimpey, which was thought to own the land.

The residents said they then made “frantic” attempts to contact Taylor Wimpey, who built the site in 1990.

However, their efforts failed and the tree was eventually felled and removed from the site.

Taylor Wimpey has since apologised for the incident and said it should have warned residents about its plan to remove the tree, which it said was at risk of causing structural damage.

One of the residents in the De Grey Court area, who did not wish to be named, said: “Taylor Wimpey have not been near the site to maintain any landscaping at all, so we were at a total loss to understand why they turned up after all this time with no notice at all and carried out a very distressing action.”

A spokesperson from Taylor Wimpey, North Yorkshire, said: “We’d like to sincerely apologise for any distress residents experienced due to the felling of a Silver Birch tree at De Grey Court in August.

“The tree surgeon was sent under our instruction on the grounds that, in time, it could have caused structural damage to the wall that it was growing next to.

“Again, we apologise for any inconvenience caused and recognise that we should have provided forewarning to residents regarding the planned removal.”

One of the residents added: “This of course makes no difference to the fact we weren’t consulted or informed by them. After 30 years of inactivity by them, we are still perplexed by their actions.” The tree was felled on August 11.