Breaking news - A fourth protestor enters the tree

A fourth protester has climbed up the tree in Irton as part of an on-going campaign to prevent it being felled.

Rob Simpson, a musician from Scarborough, climbed the tree yesterday evening following on from Paul Ganton who went up at 6am on Wednesday morning.

Rob Simpson up the tree

Rob Simpson up the tree

Rob said: “The needs of the villagers are greater than the needs of a single householder.”

A third protestor, Paul Ganton, a self-employed craftsman, climbed the tree yesterday to join the protest.

The 41-year-old South Cliff resident, known as “Ganty”, swapped places with fellow protester Charles “Ledge” Ledger, who had been up the tree since Saturday.

The move comes as costs continue to spiral, with North Yorkshire County Council’s legal bill estimated to be over £250,000 weeks ago.

Ganty has now been in the branches since 6am yesterday morning, following Ledge – and his predecessor Mark “Snoz” Snow.

Ganty told the Evening News he will do everything he can to make sure the tree stays put. Ganty, who was given advice on tree-top life by

his predecessors, said: “From day one I said I was willing to go up.

“It’s quite comfortable really - I’ve got rope to put my feet on and loops to hold on to.

“The view is beautiful, especially when the sun comes up.”

He added that he’s a keen rock climber and has always climbed trees since

he was a youngster, but had “never been this high before”.

Ganty said at the time that he was willing to stay put for the foreseeable future - despite a High Court injunction which could see the tree cut down after 4pm tomorrow.

He said: “I think it’s ridiculous really, it never hould have got this far. The tree should stay.”

Ganty added that he was full of admiration for Charles and Snoz, and was also delighted with the level of support he had received so far.

He also said friends and family were all supporting his decision.

North Yorkshire County Council obtained a court order to fell the tree after a request was made in 2006 by residents Mr and Mrs Hazelwood, who claimed the roots were damaging the drains and a high boundary wall of their property.

The Evening News asked the county council on what the current legal bill is, but they could not provide an exact figure.

Gareth Dadd, the council’s spokesman on highways, has previously stated that the tree-top protesters had a “moral responsibility” to come down to save the council from further legal costs.

However, many villagers are still supporting the cause, including retired production manager Richard Harrison, who has lived in Irton for 40 years.

He said: “It’s disgraceful that it’s come to this. I think the men who have gone up the tree are great - if I was 20 years younger I’d have done the same thing.”