A teenage boy has been arrested in connection with the cutting down of one of the UK's most photographed trees.

The Sycamore Gap tree, on Hadrian's Wall in Northumberland, was made famous in a key scene in Kevin Costner's 1991 film Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves.

Northumbria Police launched an investigation today after the tree was "deliberately felled overnight", saying they were treating it as an act of vandalism.

The force later said a 16-year-old boy had been arrested on suspicion of causing criminal damage.

A Northumbria Police cordon around the tree

He is in police custody and assisting officers with their inquiries, a spokesperson said.

Superintendent Kevin Waring, of Northumbria Police, said: "This is a world-renowned landmark and the events of today have caused significant shock, sadness and anger throughout the local community and beyond.

"An investigation was immediately launched following this vandalism, and this afternoon we have arrested one suspect in connection with our enquiries.

"Given our investigation remains at a very early stage, we are keeping an open mind.

"I am appealing to the public for information to assist us - if you have seen or heard anything suspicious that may be of interest to us, please let us know.

"Any information - no matter how small or insignificant you think it may be - could prove absolutely crucial to our enquiries."

The sycamore, which stood in a dramatic dip in Hadrian's Wall which could be seen from the nearby road, was looked after by both Northumberland National Park Authority and the UK's National Trust.

The Sycamore Gap tree photographed earlier this year before it was felled

The National Trust said it was "shocked and saddened" to confirm that the "iconic" tree had been cut down overnight after pictures emerged this morning of it lying on its side near the ancient Roman wall, which is a Unesco World Heritage site.

The news was met with dismay and outrage by walkers' groups on social media.