Case study 25: Wife of terminally ill man issued CPW banning her from leaning over the fence

(Statement from CPN recipient). ‘We moved into our property over 6 years ago to retire down here in south Devon, now both aged 60. We struggle living alone as I am a carer for my husband who has severe Parkinson’s Disease, we have no family or close friends down here.

Our only neighbours to one side of us have harassed us from the minute we moved into our property and have continued ever since. I believe that the dispute is founded in the fact that he is convinced that the boundary wall and fence belongs to him, whereas in fact it is in our title deeds. Some of their behaviour has consisted of damaging our property, photographing myself in my house, trying to claim our wall and fence knowing it belongs to us, stalking, turning our workmen away from our property.

These neighbours are very manipulating and have managed to get every neighbour on their side, so no one around the area speaks to us and all of them now demonstrate hostility towards us.

The barn on the other side of us was sold to a couple – they were friendly towards us to start with until they became very pally with our other neighbours, when they also started to harass us including making nasty comments about my husband’s disability.

We reported our neighbours’ harassment to the local policing team and handed in evidence. Police involved the council and police took statements from both neighbours, but not allowing us to make ours.

What happened next was a complete shock. We were going about our business in our garden we were visited by council and police representatives, and they served me with a Community Protection Warning Letter accusing me of all sorts of made up lies from both these neighbours. These allegations included me calling out ‘cuckoo’ and ‘fuckoo’, leaning over the fence, wetting the neighbours while watering plants, and hitting the neighbours’ plants with a stick. These allegations (aside from leaning over the fence, which I do when necessary to maintain my property) are all completely untrue.

The warning notice forbids me from calling out ‘cuckoo’ and ‘fuckoo’, leaning over the fence, staring at our neighbours, or having any contact with our neighbours. (We have never said ‘cuckoo’ or ‘fuckoo’. Perhaps this could be when we were calling our cat who is called ‘Parker’ – nothing like ‘cuckoo’ or ‘fuckoo’. Unlike our neighbours we have never used bad language.)

With two warning letters hanging over us and all the neighbours knowing this, our lives continued to get even worse. Our neighbours call us ‘asbo creatures’. The couple in the barn both have jobs connected with the police, and we think that this might be the reason that we have ended up with the warning notice and not them.

We are surrounded by vindictive neighbours who are backed up by the council and police. As a result, we are tip toeing around our property unable to maintain it. I do most of the maintenance on our property and the fence needs attention but I am unable to do that because these neighbours are lying in wait to report me for anything I do. Because our barns are adjoining some jobs require me to lean over the boundary wall. As a result, I cannot maintain my property.

We have poor mobile reception and the only place we can get reception is in a room that overlooks our neighbours’ garden. We are afraid to use this room because we may get more accusations that we are staring at them.

All we want is to be left alone. My husband’s illness is terminal and his falls are becoming more frequent due to all this abuse; his condition is worsening by the day due to the stress. The situation is becoming unbearable.

The authorities have the upper hand and this letter has been issued without warning with no evidence and packed with lies, there is no proper avenue to go to review the content of the warning letter. It just hangs over us with no time restraints on it. It’s not even a contest.’