Tree attack shocks traders.
A chainsaw was used to cut a third of the way through the trunk of the Norway maple in Bull Yard, leaving it in danger of collapsing on to passers-by.
Tree surgeons were called yesterday to remove the tree, which was planted in 1948.
Stephen Morgan, owner of Heart of Oak Tree Care in Leamington, said: "It is shocking to think that someone would do this. This is clearly premeditated as nobody goes out in the evening with a chainsaw.
"This person wanted to fell the tree and whatever the reason they had for doing it, they have ruined this thoroughfare for everyone else."
It was the second attack on trees in Bull Yard - two years ago Mr Morgan had to cut down another maple which had been poisoned.
Nearby traders are outraged at the vandalism. Terri Warner, a laboratory technician at Beryl Houghton's store, said she was shocked. She added: "I came to work on Thursday morning and was told that someone had attacked it with a chainsaw.
"I think it is disgusting, what kind of person would do this. It is really sad to think that that tree had been here for so many years."
The owner of the Glasshouse, Nim Jassi, said: "It is very worrying that someone was walking around at night with a chainsaw."
Scott Moore, owner of Mercia Jewellers, added: "I think whoever did this must be completely nuts.
It is very scary to think that someone was out with a chainsaw and did this deliberately. "
JB080208TREE1 SAD LOSS ... Tree surgeon Nick Ellard, of Heart of Oak Tree Care, chops up the tree ready for removal. Picture: James Balfour