“Heartbroken” neighbours say the destruction of a 100-year-old tree in their Chesham street is an act of “environmental vandalism”.

To make matters worse for the residents of Eskdale Avenue, graffiti has been daubed on the stump left behind.

Sandra and Sean Robbie, who live in the road, have complained to the county council – saying they were not consulted on plans to cut down the tree on February 5.

They said: “Could someone please explain why a tree that was well over 100 years old that was causing no obstruction or nuisance was suddenly and without consultation cut down?

“We and our neighbours are heartbroken over this act of environmental vandalism. It has been reduced to a stump and to make matters worse whoever did this then thought it would be funny to paint a smiley face and a sad face on each side of what is left.

“This is a disgraceful act that has taken place with no consultation.”

They added that there are trees 50 yards up the road which block a bend and cause damage to the pavement that have been left untouched.

A spokesman for Transport for Bucks (TfB) denied that the graffiti on the tree was daubed by any of their workers.

In a statement, they said: “The county council is responsible for managing many thousands of trees across our highway network. It is industry practice to inspect trees on a cyclical basis to ensure that the trees remain in good overall health and, where necessary, we arrange works to remove limbs where required and, in extreme cases, felling of the tree itself.

“The work we are carrying out is essential to ensure the safety of the public. Whilst regrettable, the sheer volume of work that has been generated by the tree survey does mean that we are unable to inform residents of our intentions.

“The stump that has been left will be removed as soon as the tree surgeons have completed the programme of work. The graffiti left on the tree stump is nothing to do with TfB.”