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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: UK Law
Satisfied Customers: 70420
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice.
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I have a Victorian house with privet boundaries on both sides.

Customer Question

I have a Victorian house with privet boundaries on both sides. I took my deeds to a solicitor 18 moths ago because my neighbour on one side first allowed the hedge sides to grow out quite far into his garden and then second instead of cutting the sides back instead starting cutting the hedge height lower saying it was only 'his side', but then reaching over as far as he could visibly over into my garden leaving me with only a whispy fringe left. When I tried to say the neighbour should not be cutting the height and make sure not beyond the boundary it then became a frequent event to do exactly this. I took my deeds and consulted a solicitor because neighbour started mocking me, shouting abuse and then claiming it was his. My solicitor confirmed I do own that boundary and wrote to him telling him not to cut the height. He retaliated by doing more of the same, plus mooning at me and spraying me with is garden hose. Solicitor wrote again and police were informed, he tells police he is not cutting over the boundary and his pants fell down he did not see me etc. My Solicitor adviced a full land survey and then possible a court order to stop him doing this. I had no money left at this point to take it further, so he has continued. He then removed a whole section (about 3-4 metres)of the rear end of the hedge by cutting through the base branches. It was then pushed into my garden and he claimed it had 'fallen down'. When I pointed out all the roots had been sawn through he said 'you did that'. Police were called and did nothing, saying I have to prove to them it is my hedge and prove he did it. Next thing he puts a fence there which I think is now on or even inside my boundary line. Several weeks ago he finally cut a large volume off the overhang off the sides all loaded into builders skip bags and disposed of without a word to me. He had a landscaper remove a wooden trellis from a small gap where the hedge ends and is joined by fence. When I challenged the landscaper that he was pulling out a trellis that belongs to me on my boundary line he continued and said it was 'rubbish anyway'. I called police, they did nothing. (Are you sure it's your trellis, bla bla). Since then the owner has been targeting this 'gap' and cutting more and more off the sides so it appears to me he is now cutting into the sides beyond the boundary line - I am now losing privacy and the purpose seems to be to be able to see into my garden, not create a uniform hedge face flush to the boundary. In order no to be forced to cut the remaining hedge top that he cannot reach, I have let it continue to grow. Sunday he started reaching right over attempting to cut through the remaining branches and lobbing them over onto my head as I am stood there. I walked round the rear of the garden to check he is definitely reaching right beyond his own garden and he was immeditaly abusive, threatening to punch me in the face and finally hitting me and sending my glasses flying. I called police & said he had threatened me, pushed me and hit me when I was merely trying to ask him once more not to cut height, not to cut over the boundary and not to throw branches over like that. Police came round and said he has claimed that I hit him, so it is two criminal complaints with no witness bu they will 'investigate'. They told him he must not throw branches over as there may be someone on the other side or cause damage and that is 'reckless'. They also told him he has to return cuttings to me or it is theft, but must not throw them over. The same evening as I was picking up the thrown branches and cutting them to put in my bin he walked past and said 'get out of my face, Caroline', and then swore and laughed at me in a mocking way ( I kept my back turned and ignored it ).
This morning (3 days since he was warned by the police) I hear cutting and see he is cutting and removing vertical (not overhanging) branches from the hedge sides i.e seemingly cutting into the interior now from his side. Cannot see any reason for this other than he is cutting a 'window' at head height which will mean he can watch or stand there to intimdate (I think he is now going beyond the boundary on the sides). He then got up a ladder and again was cutting the remaining height branches on my side and throwing lobbing them way over onto my garden again despite the police advice not to. He then cut a mass more which he did not throw over. When he was gone I checked my garden and he there is a bin bag branches I metre inside my garden- so he either threw this too or climbed over the locked gate. Prior to this weekend he has never returned what he has cut and never spoken to me prior to cutting the height or the sides to agree with me what (if anything) is actually overhanging, or where the boundary line actually is).
Can you advise me if I should call the police gain on this because clearly he is now throwing this stuff over deliberately having been told not to by them, but can they do anything ? They seem to be making matters worse whenever they speak to him and he is getting more and more confident. he has threatened me several times now before this weekend ( threatened to 'have me done...have someone do something to me...I will have to watch my back if he gets into trouble etc. (Police did nothing about this either - said they could not say it was a threat that is my interpretation, I have no witness etc.
Can you advice me what I need to do in this situation regard to police and regard to if I need to instruct a solicitor again.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: UK Law
Expert:  Thomas Judge replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for your question. Please remember to rate once you get my answer.
Dear *****,
I would certainly call the police again. But I would go further than that this time. You are clearly being harassed and victimised by this man. The police need to be taking you more seriously and this is either a matter to be escalated within the police force or for you to go and involve your local MP who can use some of their clout to help you. I would also consider a video camera in the garden to evidence for you what has been happening.
Best of luck
Expert:  Miel-cssm replied 2 years ago.
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Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
I am very sorry but the answer you have received is incorrect.
There is nothing the police can do about him cutting over the boundary line. It is a civil matter. It is not one for the police. That is why they took no action originally.
The reason he is allowed to return the foliage to you in the way that you describe is that he is under a duty to do that to avoid the tort of conversion. The police shouldn't really have told him not to do so for that reason but they probably did to keep the peace.Thes are matters over which you can seek an injunction at the civil courts but they are not police matters.
You do need to be careful because they are getting very free with the wasting police time fine.
I am very sorry.
Can I clarify anything for you?