I cut my neighbour's hedge after it took over footpath & they 'couldn't be bothered'… they're fuming but I don't care | The Sun

AN OAP slashed his neighbour's hedge after it was left to grow over the footpath because they "couldn't be bothered" to cut it.

Keith Haines, 89, left Berks locals fuming after hacking the privacy fence, but he was proud of his work.

The man even wrote to his local paper to thank himself for making the chop.

Writing to the Newbury Weekly News, he said: "I would like to thank me for bringing the footway to its original width as the tenants haven't bothered to keep the hedge cut.

"I informed the council of my intentions but they didn't stop me from doing it, so I went ahead with it.

"Everyone who passed me congratulated me. What a difference I have made."



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The aftermath of Haines' chop has left the hedge looking bare, with little greenery and exposed brown sticks.

Thick leafy shrubbery towers overhead in the area Haines' left untouched.

But some locals were left annoyed with Haines' act and have now called the hedge "an absolute mess".

Mandy Allen, a Berks resident, said she saw Keith destroying her hedge and quizzed him on what he was doing.

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She said: "It's an absolute mess. He's gone back to the original fence.

''I have been in my house for 23 years and I have never ever seen the original fence. He's not just cut it, he's absolutely hacked it."

Another resident, Fran Robins, had similar concerns.

She said not only had she now lost part of her greenery, but her privacy, too.

Fran said: "I make my own arrangements when my hedge needs cutting.

"He has actually hacked it to pieces, not content with just mine, he decided to tackle others hedges that face onto Western Avenue even after being asked to stop.

"The hedge now is letting in more road noise from traffic and taken away my privacy. l have been in my house 57 years and never had an issue."

But, some residents were pleased with the 89-year-old's efforts – including one blind woman.

She said: "I am a totally blind resident in Shaw and walk my guide dog every day.

"I am often stung by stinging nettles, scratched by brambles and hit in the face by branches and shrubs that are overhanging the footpaths.

"Fortunately, there is a resident who lives nearby called Keith.

"He is 89 years old and as well as caring for his wife, he is out every day cutting back foliage, clearing blocked drains, picking up litter and sweeping the subways to keep them free of slippery mud, litter and broken glass.

"I think this wonderful man deserves some recognition for all his hard work as a volunteer."

But according to BLB Solicitors, The Criminal Damage Act 1971 provides that unless you have a lawful excuse, intentionally or recklessly causing damage to “any property belonging to another” amounts to a criminal offence – that includes a hedge.

So, it’s permissible to prune the branches of your neighbour’s hedge if it’s protruding into your garden and causing a nuisance.

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But don’t be tempted to go further than the point where the branches cross the boundary.

West Berkshire Council said: "The hedges are all on private property and do not fall to the council to maintain."

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