Fuming pensioner climbs tree and refuses to come down in bitter fence row

A fuming pensioner climbed a 10-metre tree in his front garden and is refusing to come down amid a bitter fencing row with his neighbours.

Norm Duke, 70, from Currumbin, Gold Coast, Queensland, scaled the huge specimen moments before tree surgeons arrived to cut it down to make way for a fence around his neighbour's property.

But Mr Duke, a botanical researcher, said the native brushbox has roots under his property, and it removed it would destabilise his home.

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"It's removal will destabilise the very steep slope that's here," he told 9News.

"We're not objecting to the fence, at least the partial fence, we're just disagreeing with cutting down the tree."

The pensioner said he climbed the massive tree as a "last resort" and refused to come down until the chainsaw-weilding tree surgeons left the scene. 

At one point in the tense stand-off, Mr Duke was spoken to by a police officer who climbed onto the man's home. 

Fire crews and paramedics had assembled below in case of disaster, but were relieved that after an hour Mr Duke chose to end his protest. 

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"They were just about to cut it and were trying to do it. We were trying to get in legal help but that was going to be slow to arrive," he said.

The tree's fate is still uncertain, but reports suggest local authorities will meet about the matter. 

And as for Mr Duke, he has refused to say whether he'll climb the tree again in the event of tree surgeons returning. 

"I'm not going to say," he told reporters at the scene. 

"Who knows what you do when your desperate, or you care about something."

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