A TREE which has made a pensioner’s life a misery for years has finally been pruned by the council – five weeks after officials gave the grandmother just a fortnight to do it herself.

Marcia Hasler had to appeal to The Argus last week in the hope Brighton and Hove City Council would take action over the hazardous hawthorn.

We reported that initially the council claimed it was her tree and threatened legal action might follow if she did not cut it back.

The 76-year-old from Chelston Avenue in Hove, received the upsetting letter the day she returned from a two-week hospital stay for emergency heart surgery. She said it nearly gave her a heart attack.

The letter from highway enforcement officer Gail Barnett went on: “Failing to respond to the above can leave you liable to civil or other claims for damages in the event of an incident.”

The council apologised for its mistake after the Haslers complained. A letter from acting head of traffic management David Fisher read: “I understand that the tone of the letter can seem threatening however the wording of the letter is a legal requirement.

“I am sorry for any distress the letter has caused and can assure you the matter is being investigated.”

He said procedures had not been correctly followed.

But the tree, situated four feet away from the edge of Mrs Hasler’s property, drops thousands of berries every winter which become a slippery slush, and she warned yesterday’s action has not solved a problem of the council’s own making.

She said: “They should have done this before

“Now at least it’s not going to be a danger, but it will be again next year.

“I want it cut down so I don’t have this problem every year. I’ve asked this every year for four years.”

The Haslers have complained annually to the council about the risk of the tree’s long, sharp thorns, as well as the mess the berries make when traipsed into their home.

“Why hasn’t someone from the council been up and had a look at it? They probably don’t even know how bad it is.

“There’s been no communication, it’s been awful.

“It’s only The Argus and Councillor Nemeth who have helped me.

“And now the men pruning the tree have told me that pruning it will make it grow back bigger anyway.”

Brighton and Hove City council did not respond to The Argus’s request for comment.