Criminal Damage to Hedging

Criminal Damage to Hedging

Postby GillyD » Thu Mar 24, 2005 5:31 pm

The boundary between my garden and that of my neighbour is defined by a brick wall. Approx 3 ft from the wall and on my property I have a row of Leylandii trees (were approx 7 ft tall) and which I kept regularly cut to this height. Last week and without my permission or having informed me, she instructed her gardner to cut my trees leaving the brown trunk and branch stumps and cutting the greenery to approx 3ft 6in in height. She has even cut branches which were growing inwards in my garden. I understand that having been so severely cut they will not regrow as before. I understand that this is classified as criminal damage and trespass, however the Police will not classify it as a crime despite Citizens Advice telling me that they should do so. Do I need to continue to pursue this with the Police or can anyone advise me what course of action I should take. As replacement trees will hurt my pocket I do not want to get heavily involved with solicitors bills as well. Do I just give up now and replant ?
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Postby despair » Thu Mar 24, 2005 6:53 pm

Citizens Advice are correct ......its criminal damage and the police are required to act .......demand to see the Cheif Constable and ask him why he is acting in contravention of the law

You can of course issue a claim via the Small Claims Court for the costs of removal and replacement but your neighbour has absolutely no right whatsoever to reduce the height of your trees or to cut anything beyond the boundary of your 2 properties

Have you faced her with all this ??????

Tell her you will pursue her for the costs through the courts if nessecary

Meanwhile very carefully check all your insurance policies ,union memberships and credit cards as you may have legal expenses cover already
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Damage to hedging

Postby Countryman » Thu Mar 24, 2005 9:47 pm

Is there any dispute as to where the boundary line is? If there is no boundary dispute and your neighbour has not indicated that there is then it would appear that there is a case of criminal damage. If your neighbour says there is a boundary dispute then the police will likely not pursue it.

If me I would find out the name of the officer in charge of your police area (probably a superintendent)) by phoning the divisional station, then send a letter of facts with a photo of the damage showing clearly it is within the boundary by three feet. I would ask for written reason why the police are not pursuing your complaint of criminal damage. Keep it polite and stay with the facts. You may wish to send it recorded delivery. That will ensure it gets full attention.

Obtain their WRITTEN reasons before considering further steps.


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Criminal damage to hedge

Postby Vic » Thu Mar 24, 2005 10:05 pm

I had a similar problem.
Last edited by Vic on Sun Apr 03, 2005 9:16 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby despair » Thu Mar 24, 2005 11:09 pm

With the advent of the HH Law coming into effect what a pity your neighbour did not have a reasonable discussion with you about the problems your hedge was/is creating

As a sufferer i do not for one minute doubt that every nuiscance he complains of is totally true ...many leylandii growers have little understanding of "the other side " .....HOWEVER .....that did not give him the right to reduce the height of your hedge and you have every right to be agrieved
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Postby GillyD » Thu Mar 24, 2005 11:52 pm

Thanks for all the advice so far. It has been the Crime Desk Sergeant who has stated that this is non criminal and will not accept the crime report. As suggested I have asked who his superior is and I have been given the name of the regional D.I. so as suggested I will send him a report of the facts and before and after photos. I did ask my neighbour why she had done this and she said that by law the hedge could not exceed 6 foot - they were only 7 foot initially but now are reduced to 3ft 6in of green branches and 2 foot of brown stump. Just a thought, when does a row of trees become a hedge ? - Is there a height limit for trees ?
Insurance policies and credit cards will also be called on for help and any campaigning candidates who asked for my vote will also be asked for assistance. I'll keep you updated on my progress.
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Postby despair » Fri Mar 25, 2005 10:27 am

your neighbour has got a head full of nonsense to say that hedges could not be more than 6ft high ...........the whole point of the HH Law campaign was to get 30 and 40 ft high hedges reduced

If yours was 7ft she does not have a leg to stand on in defence as she cant even say its not a safe cutting heaight to trim back her side

Unlike the 12ft high monsters i am faced with

As for cutting it to 3ft 6 in high that is most definitely criminal damage pursue the matter with vigour
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Criminal damage to hedge

Postby Vic » Sat Mar 26, 2005 12:29 am

Gilly go for it! Supposing you had a 7ft shrub, not leylandii, you neighbour would not have the right to cut it down. This is criminal damage, trespass on your property and theft. The police are supposed to do something about crime. If the police refuse to do anything about this crime, even at the higher levels, then contact your MP and ask him or her to investigate why the police are not taking any action over a crime which has been committed.
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RE: Criminal damage to hedge

Postby 6th architect student » Thu Apr 14, 2005 12:31 am

Hi, I'm a 6th year architecture student writing my disertation on land law at the moment (thats why i came upon this forum)

I can offer a little help (hopefully)

Trespass firstly is not a criminal offence, it is in the law of tort (civil court) so thats why the police may be reluctant to persue.
You could get an 'injunction' form the courts to stop the cutting happerning again. if that was to be broken then it will be comtempt of court (criminal law)

The thing to point out here, is that it is impeding you 'right to enjoy your land' (which is very serious in land law)

With regard to the actual damage, this could be seen from different perspectives.
criminal: in that it is physical damage to land
civil: in that it is 'private nuisance' --- this is the one that you may be able to sue for, to cover the cost of your tree.

at the end of the day it may prove a long and expensive process....
if i was in your situation, i would try to resolve the issue politly with your neighbour, failing that, get a mediator to try to resolve it....

the cases that i'am currently looking at, like yours, normally involves some 'come back' at the plantliff (youself) for nusance / trespass of the obects!!!
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Postby despair » Thu Apr 14, 2005 8:35 am

Architect

I trust you will become a regular contributor here

I am fascinated by your reply to this question though as many Hedgeline members have been hauled thru the courts for quite simply cutting back the trespass of their neighbours hedges to the exact boundary line

They have not cut the height of them despite many being 30 or 40ft and causing serious problems yet judges have still declared these victims to be guilty of criminal damage because they have cut back to bare wood /trunks

Mediation services sadly do not exist in many areas and way too many hedge growers simply will not discuss matters

I endure 150ft of a 12ft high mess of conifers all planted inches from the boundary but even the HHLaw will be of no assistance despite the fact that i simply cannot trim them back at that height and the damage they are wreaking on my land
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Postby 6th architect student » Thu Apr 14, 2005 10:24 am

Hi Despair,

I'm actually writing my dissertation on land law and the remedies..
so I’m not an expert!! yet :-)
came across this site when i was looking through trespass cases... i actually wanted to find out about air space trespass by the use of tower cranes!!

i know allot of people have problems with trespass, boundaries and trees and the law is not very helpful because trespass and boundaries are in the law of tort (civil)

what would be useful is to move it from civil to criminal law...
one why of doing this would be by taking out an 'injunction' against the party to stop them trespassing. obviously you can't stop trespassing with a building or other objects. they then become 'in contempt' of court which becomes a criminal offence.... and so on

where trees are concerned, it is only if they cause 'foreseeable' damage to neighbouring buildings due to dessication of the ground. this is in the law of nuisance... (civil) need to take steps of 'injunction' above.

as far as cutting trees to a decent level / size, the law is normally with the tree owner... you shouldn't cut it yourself/ damage it etc.. (this could be classed as criminal)

but it is mainly construction that i deal with... not the law

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Postby Vic » Thu Apr 14, 2005 11:06 pm

"Resolve the issue politely with your neighbour". If only! Sadly John despite being polite and reasonable to one's neighbour, sometimes one encounters abuse,lies and a completely self-righteous intransigent attitude, even though the neighbour has broken the law.
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Postby despair » Thu Apr 14, 2005 11:19 pm

Sadly Vic that occurs on both sides

You should hear the appalling abuse I have endured just for politely asking that the scruffy mess of a 12 ft high hedge was reduced to 8ft and not allowed to break my fence or litter my land .......and the excuses for not cutting would fill a book
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Postby mark one » Fri Apr 15, 2005 4:18 pm

Interesting subject.

Our neighbour planted some hedges a couple of years back, I guess in a couple of years they will be getting to a point were they need cutting. As it is their hedge and they planted it on their land I can not do anything about it, but when it comes to maintenance should they not be responsible for my side too :?:

Hope you do not mind the post here GillyD
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Postby despair » Fri Apr 15, 2005 5:32 pm

Exactly what I think

If they want to grow hedges that overhang my property they should cut it back

Almost all the complainants to Hedgeline say the same..........why should the neighbour who does not want a hedge have the trouble and expense of cutting the darn thing back and dealing with the mess all over flower beds they are struggling to keep anything growing in
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