Abbotsford man sentenced for tree-cutting

Troy Peters pleaded guilty to a theft charge after a broadleaf maple tree was cut down in a forest in the Old Clayburn area.

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An Abbotsford man has been given a six-month conditional discharge and six months’ probation for cutting down a broadleaf maple tree in a forested area of the city.

Troy Peters pleaded guilty to theft under $5,000 and was also ordered to pay $500 restitution to the City of Abbotsford and to not possess any saws or tools that are suitable for cutting down or pruning trees.

An Abbotsford resident contacted the Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations in December 2010 to report that two men were cutting down a tree in a forested area of Old Clayburn.

The ministry and the RCMP forest crime investigation unit then launched an investigation.

The following month, they saw four men in the area, and one was standing near a chainsaw and a freshly cut maple tree.

All four men were detained and later released, but charges of theft under $5,000 were approved against two of them – Peters and Derek Joe.

Charges were later stayed against Joe.

Const. Cameron Kamiya of the forest crime investigation unit said the illegal harvesting of broadleaf maple trees has escalated in the Lower Mainland in recent years.

“These trees are often between 80 to 120 years old and are sought out for the purpose of manufacturing musical instruments,” he said in a release.