SONOMA, Calif. (AP) — A California judge has ordered a couple to pay nearly $600,000 for uprooting a 180-year-old oak tree and causing other damage to a protected property.

The Press Democrat reports Wednesday the case against Peter and Toni Thompson started in 2014, when a concerned neighbor reported heavy equipment and digging on a property protected under a conservation easement.

Court documents show a Sonoma Land Trust official found more than 3,000 cubic yards of dirt and rock had been removed and a 180-year-old oak tree had been uprooted.

The county sued the couple and a judge ruled against them last month. Shortly after, the Thompsons put the protected property and a neighboring ranch on the market for $8.45 million.

The couple is filing for a new trial.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Recommended for you