criminal damage

criminal damage

Postby lincslass61 » Sat May 14, 2016 9:30 pm

i've posted before about the saga of my new fence and my neighbour damaging it. first his home made fish pond about 6ft x4ft and about 4ft high and put on a angle so the corner of it is over my boundary slightly then as there was no fence at all he asked if he could put one up. this was about 8 or so years ago. he owned his council house i was a council tenant so had little idea where the boundary was exactly.
then this year i start to buy my council house when they come to measure boundaries i'm told his fishpond is over slightly and his fence. but the council would not pursue a order to make him move either saying it was just a matter of inches.
so as his fence has nearly every post rotten and it was swaying in the wind( a 4ft home made picket fence) and he had never bothered to repair it we said we was replacing it he was fine about it.
but as soon as the fencing men started removing his he was outside shouting and swearing saying he was going to have us for criminal damage. i realized that this had been his plan because he was hoping to get money from us so he could replace his fence the other side of his garden.
after he threatened to smash our new fence with a sledgehammer i called the police. eventually at night they turn up just after they left his we heard a bang on our fence ,he had kicked in two of the featherboards. but the police said we had to see him do it. so i put a cctv camera up.
i'll try and keep this as brief as i can. he lent 15 of his old fence panels up my fence told to remove them by police a few days later put them back. he wasnt home when police went round the next day. so they was there a week before his wife moved them strangely enough about 30 minutes after the police rang to say they was coming to see me.
but then this neighbour who never bothered mowing his lawn until he had too about every 2 months starts cutting it ,but everytime he went close to my fence you could see him leaning on the panels. he surpassed himself this week cut it then 19 hours later cut it again.
so i'm getting fed up of showing the police what he is doing ,they keep saying they actually need to see the panels moving but to go back through all my cctv footage.

so today i went right back to the day i put the cctv up ,the fence men had put up about 15 panels(my garden 140ft long) about ten minutes after they have gone the neighbour is out there (i had hid my cctv on my indoor windowsill then before a few days later putting it outside) there he is clearly pushing on all the panels with the panels moving quite alot,then he comes out a few hours later and has another go at my fence.

so i've got the cctv footage the police wanted him pushing on my fence and the fence moving, but the police said the neighbour may say he thought the fence was over his and was pushing it back.
i'm like what????? how much more proof can you get. this is a clear case of criminal damage.

i'm so frustrated at the police lack of action this all started a month ago . now they say they already left one message on his phone they will ring him again. but they have to "invite" him first to the police station for questioning then if he refuses they will arrest him to take him in.

my fence cost me £1,600 and he has wrecked it,it's all out of line. its featherboard panels with concrete posts and gravel boards.
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Re: criminal damage

Postby mr sheen » Sat May 14, 2016 11:08 pm

The Police and CPS decide whether there is sufficient evidence to prosecute for criminal damage and the evidence needs to prove it beyond reasonable doubt, which is a high burden of proof. Also they can decide if it is in the public interest to pursue a criminal case. Prosecution for criminal damage where neighbours are in dispute is difficult because both sides often behave badly.

He put up a fence when he owned his property 8 years ago, so the fence belonged to him and he presumably assumed that he had put the fence up on his own land and you did not own any of the land at the time, the council did and did not object to the position he placed the fence. Therefore.... He owned the fence and in theory it could be argued that you did commit criminal damage when you took down his fence (you claim he agreed and presumably he disputes that he agreed for you to remove his fence).

You have now replaced his fence for him having taken his down, so if this goes to court you are unlikely to get anything, since having taken down his fence, you owed him a fence which you have now put up. However you are now trying to claim ownership of the fence you put up to replace the one he owned and suggest that he is damaging 'your' fence...but it is in fact the fence you owed him when you took his down, so he could argue it is his.

So ....probably best to try to restore reasonable relations with the neighbour and try to move on, before the police label you both a problem neighbours.
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Re: criminal damage

Postby COGGY » Sun May 15, 2016 12:55 pm

Hi Mr Sheen

Have you any personal experience of problem neighbours and police involvement? The reason I ask is because it is not always clear cut. I spent one afternoon on the phone to the police in tears because the neighbour had threatened to come into our garden with a friend. My husband said, understandably, that he would not permit this. I was extremely worried for the safety of my husband. The police officer on the other end of the phone declined to send any support to us and simply said my husband should stay inside for his own safety and allow the neighbour and friend access. Luckily the neighbour did not carry out his threat. Later we received a visit from the police with an apology, stating we should have received help and support and had been placed on a register to receive instant support if required. I have no idea if they visited the neighbour but things calmed after that and the proposed work by the neighbour has not been carried out.

I believe the reason for the change in attitude was due to me emailing the Chief of Police.

Background to this, we had allowed the neighbour free access for over 20 years until their actions forced us to change this to "Access will be considered after written permission, and indemnity for any damage, due to lack of trust".

I have noticed many times Mr.Sheen that you give good, carefully thought out advice on most matters, but do not appear to have empathy with posters suffering from problem neighbours. Until you have experience of this it is impossible to understand the stress caused.

Kind regards
Coggy
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Re: criminal damage

Postby arborlad » Sun May 15, 2016 1:33 pm

arborlad

smile...it confuses people
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Re: criminal damage

Postby mr sheen » Sun May 15, 2016 1:51 pm

Hi Coggy
Absolutely do have experience of problem neighbours, which is why I focus on the pragmatic position and distinguish between the reality of the position as oppose to offering counselling/sympathy etc which can reinforce entrenched and often unrealistic or legally unenforceable beliefs...and which can result in escalation of what may get very ugly indeed to result in lose/lose big time!

It's not that I don't have sympathy but often the person posting doesn't understand that they are not squeaky clean in the matter, or that the legal position is not what they believe etc etc. I seek to provide an objective comment based on the facts and realistic expectations of what can be done about it...which is often not a lot! In many cases the sooner people recognise this, the less stress will be caused long term.

Others may prefer to offer the OP support and sympathy...that is the benefit of diversity in a discussion forum that posters can get a mix of both.
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Re: criminal damage

Postby lincslass61 » Sun May 15, 2016 3:48 pm

ok the police came to look at his fence and said there was no possible way it could had been taken down any other way as it was so rotten. i have dogs and so does the neighbour. so his fence which all the posts was rotten many of them actually snapped off was unsafe to provide a secure garden for his dogs and ours. he had made attempt to repair his fence i had to tie two panels to the posts just to stop my dogs getting out. it was waving about so much that it knocked over a small wire fence i had installed my side to stop my small dogs getting through his picket fence.
the boundary is mine ,he knew that.
we had asked permission to remove his fence,he gave permission and knew we was putting one up.
at no time have we ever done anything to them .even through all this ,him hurling abuse we have remained calm and not entered into swearing back or anything.
so the police have clearly told him we did not cause criminal damage to his fence. but if he damaged our new fence then thats criminal damage.
my cctv footage(at the point it was inside so he hadnt seen it) showing him 10/15 minutes after the fencing contractors had left pushing all along my new fence ,even putting his back up to it and digging his feet in to get a good push on it and it clearly shows my fence moving and after he has finished what was a straight line was now way out of line. so to me this is clear evidence of criminal damage to a fence that cost me £1600. now how can that not be beyond reasonable doubt? and my solicitor says i was within my rights to remove his rotten fence and replace it with my own as it is my boundary. and if i wanted to get really awkward as his fence was partly on my land i could claim it as my own. the council told me this a few years ago but i told them no thanks not the state it's in.
you see if he is not stopped now by the laws that are there to protect us. what else will he do? he hasn't stopped trying to damage my fence since it was put up. even the new fence i had put up at the bottom of my garden two days later i found the posts had been pushed,he would had to go out on the field behind to get at it but as its 6ft my cctv wouldnt pick up what was going on behind it. but my camera near my fence on my boundary does show anything he does to it. the police told me to put my cctv there showing my fence .
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Re: criminal damage

Postby arborlad » Sun May 15, 2016 4:20 pm

lincslass61 wrote: and if i wanted to get really awkward as his fence was partly on my land i could claim it as my own. the council told me this a few years ago but i told them no thanks not the state it's in.




..........'tis a shame you didn't take the council up on its offer - even more so if they'd put it in writing, would've saved you a whole lot of grief.
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smile...it confuses people
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Re: criminal damage

Postby mr sheen » Sun May 15, 2016 4:39 pm

lincslass61 wrote:ok the police came to look at his fence and said there was no possible way it could had been taken down any other way as it was so rotten. i have dogs and so does the neighbour. so his fence which all the posts was rotten many of them actually snapped off was unsafe to provide a secure garden for his dogs and ours. he had made attempt to repair his fence i had to tie two panels to the posts just to stop my dogs getting out. it was waving about so much that it knocked over a small wire fence i had installed my side to stop my small dogs getting through his picket fence.
the boundary is mine ,he knew that.

without proof he agreed, you removed his fence ie caused damage....you cannot remove his fence and claim it was for his benefit

we had asked permission to remove his fence,he gave permission and knew we was putting one up.

presumably you can PROVE this

at no time have we ever done anything to them .even through all this ,him hurling abuse we have remained calm and not entered into swearing back or anything.

you came in and replaced his fence!

so the police have clearly told him we did not cause criminal damage to his fence. but if he damaged our new fence then thats criminal damage.

have the police provided this in writing? If not they are merely trying to keep the peace. Neither situation warrants wasting police time and taxpayers money!

my cctv footage(at the point it was inside so he hadnt seen it) showing him 10/15 minutes after the fencing contractors had left pushing all along my new fence ,even putting his back up to it and digging his feet in to get a good push on it and it clearly shows my fence moving and after he has finished what was a straight line was now way out of line. so to me this is clear evidence of criminal damage to a fence that cost me £1600.

you don't get a say in prosecution for criminal damage

now how can that not be beyond reasonable doubt? and my solicitor says i was within my rights to remove his rotten fence and replace it with my own as it is my boundary.

your solicitor says this, his will say you had absolutely NO right to remove it....and his solicitor is right!and

if i wanted to get really awkward as his fence was partly on my land i could claim it as my own. the council told me this a few years ago but i told them no thanks not the state it's in.

too late then


you see if he is not stopped now by the laws that are there to protect us. what else will he do? he hasn't stopped trying to damage my fence since it was put up. even the new fence i had put up at the bottom of my garden two days later i found the posts had been pushed,he would had to go out on the field behind to get at it but as its 6ft my cctv wouldnt pick up what was going on behind it. but my camera near my fence on my boundary does show anything he does to it. the police told me to put my cctv there showing my fence .


He had a neighbour come in....remove his fence, call the police on him and install CCTV to snoop on him...yep...he's no doubt seriously p*ssed off???so who knows what he will do....nor who is really responsible!!!!
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Re: criminal damage

Postby Collaborate » Sun May 15, 2016 7:51 pm

Pay the fence contractor to come back and make it straight, then take your evidence to the county court (small claims track) and recover the cost from neighbour. Your burden of proof for that is the balance of probability.
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