I cried for half an hour...

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heartbroken
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Jul 22, 2006 12:48 pm

I cried for half an hour...

Post by heartbroken » Sat Jul 22, 2006 1:27 pm

Hi there
I found this by following various links from the CAB site and I'm sure all of this has been posted before but I'm still in a state of shock.

Last night I got home to find my neighbour had hired someone to cut the hedge in between our back garden and theirs. He had cut the hedge up to the fence on their side, which is okay I guess, but he had cut along the top on our side, and in doing so, had cut through the main stem of a honeysuckle which I had been nursing back to health for the last three years. It had been beautiful for the first time this year and I was planning to cut it back when it had finished flowering, but now there's just a stalk and a few wilted leaves left.

Our neighbour hadn't told us he'd hired someone - my partner only knew about it as he was leaving for work yesterday morning and he got the impression that he was going to trim the hedge. He said something along the lines of "I'm just trimming the hedge but I won't cut it too short so you keep some privacy". I hope he didn't asume from that we'd given permission! He said nothing about cutting it so thin that we can see right through into our neighbour's garden.

Anyway, while I was taking photos of the damage I burst into tears and couldn't stop. I'd devoted so much time and effort to saving the plant and it had all been taken away like that.

My neighbour's wife heard me crying and is really guilty about what she'd done, but her english isn't too good and she kept on saying "it's only a plant, it'll grow back." It was hard enough for me to get it going in the first place and with the weather being so dry, my gut feeling is that it won't. It was sickly to start with but too big to dig up and replace, which is why I'd worked so hard to save it. I've got a good 20+ years of gardening experience behind me and I'm pretty good at gauging when something is beyond recovery.

Anyway, among everything else she told me was that the man was coming back tomorrow (Saturday) and he would clear up the mess he'd made in our garden. He's there now, hacking away at their's some more, but when my partner asked when he needed to get in to our garden to clear up he replied "I was going to send you a bill", whereapon my partner replied, "We didn't hire you, we didn't know anything about this until yesterday" and locked the gate.

The hatchet Man (for want of a better name) also claimed the honeysuckle would grow back / was still alive and that he had the top of it in a pot at home - I think with the intention of returning it if I wanted, but he shouldn't have removed it in the first place. Isn't that stealing? He went from sorry to grumpy pretty quickly so I think he's starting to guess that he's screwed up big time.

The next thing I'm going to do is get his details from my neighbour (when he wakes up - he's a taxi driver on night shift), as one of my other neighbours thinks we can prosecute this cowboy.

I know the saying goes "Ignorance of the Law is no defence" - and this guy certainly is that! But does anyone know if I have grounds to prosecute him, how much it's likely to cost me and do I have a good enough case to win?

I've got before and after photos of the honey suckle (Attached - with free cat in the first one!)

Thanks in advance for any help and advice you can give me.

Image

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despair
Posts: 16313
Joined: Mon Mar 14, 2005 7:07 am

Post by despair » Sat Jul 22, 2006 1:54 pm

Firstly while the neighbour has every right to cut back to the boundary anything that trespasses they have absolutely no right to reduce the height or cause the death of any tree or plant

Its rather hard to see from your photos where the boundary is or what exactly the neighbour has done

I appreciate you are upset but equally if your plants / honeysuckle were invading their airspace /they can cut them back

If they truly have reduced the height without permission on your side its criminal damage and the police "should" act

You can sue in the SCC for the cost of replacement plants but it might cost more than its worth

It looks to me like the honeysuckle in question is one that a lot of people had trouble with in last few years .....some virus or other i guess however with lots of water and fertiliser it should regrow

heartbroken
Posts: 2
Joined: Sat Jul 22, 2006 12:48 pm

Post by heartbroken » Sat Jul 22, 2006 2:38 pm

Thanks for replying so quickly.
I know, the photos are a bit tricky. In the first one I was snapping the cat in a hurray with my mobile before she launched herself at me!

The horizontal wooden beams in the bottom left of the first picture are the top left of the gate-frame in the second. The part of the honeysuckle that got removed was on netting over the end of the gunnel between our houses, we own half each. So they could have cut back their half and left ours alone without wrecking the plant. Even if it was a problem I still don't get why they didn't just ask. We were on good terms and if it was a problem I would have done it myself free of charge. In fact, if they had told us in advance we could have got someone competent in and split the cost.

But I could "what if" until doomsday.
Thanks for your reply anyway.

despair
Posts: 16313
Joined: Mon Mar 14, 2005 7:07 am

Post by despair » Sat Jul 22, 2006 3:01 pm

I would suggest that somehow you alter the mesh over the gunnel so that theres no way your honeysuckle can trespass next door

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