Three people have been arrested but were later released in a row over trees more than 150-years-old being chopped down in Bangor, County Down.
Residents said they had no prior warning about the trees
Contractors moved in to chop down the beech, ash and chestnut trees on the boundary of an old detached property in the Beeches area at about 0730 BST.
Protesters, including local MP Lady Sylvia Hermon, tried to stop them.
Cutting stopped for a time while police searched the trees for nesting birds. No birds were found and work resumed.
The developer later said he would spare the remaining trees even though he was under no legal obligation to do so.
Residents said they had no prior warning that the trees would be cut down and were not aware that the property had been sold.
The trees were not covered by preservation orders.
The trees were not covered by preservation orders
Local resident Clarke Wilson said they realised that the contractors were "working within the law".
"However, there are many issues in relation to tree and wildlife preservation that we would like assessed prior to these trees being removed," he added.
Lady Hermon said trees "enhance a property, rather than detract from it".