A man said it was an affront to his freedom of speech when Wandsworth Council contacted his employer to complain about his tweets.

Ian Dalton had been tweeting criticisms of the council’s chopping down of more than 50 decaying chestnut trees, some around 150 years old, at Tooting Common.

But he was shocked when someone from the council telephoned his boss in an attempt, he claims, "to get him sacked.”

Mr Dalton, 33, from Crawley, who is an expert in trees at another local authority in London said: “I made those tweets and then a couple hours later my boss took me into a room and said someone had been in touch with him by phone to say that he wasn’t happy that a tree officer was criticising another council.”

“If they have to resort to tactics like that, then it tells me that something is really wrong.

“Just because a tree has a bit of decay or something doesn’t necessarily mean that it needs chopping down.

“I was just replying with questions really and asking what sort of technical justification they were actually using."

The chopping down of the trees, in Chestnut Avenue, led to the local Stop The Chop Campaign and sparked a petition signed by more than 5,000 people, and the media branded the tree cutting as ‘The Tooting Chainsaw Massacre.’

Wandsworth Council, which has now chopped down most of the trees, said they were dangerous due to old age and disease.

A Wandsworth Council spokesperson said: "An employee of our leisure and culture contractor, who has been looking after trees for nearly 40 years and is a highly qualified and respected industry professional, asked his counterparts in another borough why one of their officers had repeatedly taken to Twitter during office hours to attack his professional integrity, based on images he’d seen on social media and without making any attempt to contact him to discuss the issue.

“He simply wanted to know why someone being paid by council taxpayers to look after trees in that borough was making so many ill-informed and very public comments about trees miles away in Tooting."

Mr Dalton said he didn’t want the Wandsworth Guardian to identify the local authority he works for.