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  • Our Story

    In 1995 we moved into our current house in Blyth (Northumberland), a semi-detached house in a medium sized estate. Our neighbours on the attached side are our nightmare neighbours! Their family comprises of the couple (J and M (names editted out)) who I think are in their 60's and down the street lives their daughter along another woman and their grandson. They have a number of other visitors to and from the house including a granddaughter who lived there when we first moved in, but has since moved on. We've had a chain of incidents with these people ever since we moved in and we've heard tales-a-plenty from other people, many of which we took with a pinch of salt in the early days.

    On the day we moved in J came into the garden while we took a break from the chaos, he came up to the fence slurring badly and reached over grabbing my wifes arm to "shake her hand" he smelled like a brewery and clearly smoked like a chimney, still everyone to their own but the beer smell and slurring worried me immediately since it was barely 10am! It was near impossible to understand a word he said and still is, they both seem to be in a constant drunken haze. We didn't see much of them that first autumn, but in the spring our second child was born and at the same time the first in a string of incidents began. J and M had aquired a second dog from somewhere, this poor thing had what looked like the mange, covered in scabs and it was adept at jumping the fence into our garden. One day while my wife was feeding the baby her dad was visiting and went to let our dog into the garden – he found the black dog from next door was in the middle of the lawn doing it's business, so he popped around to next door to ask them to get it out (politely). A few days later it had jumped the fence again, but this time destroyed a cold-frame and a load of seedlings I was growing, I was more than a little annoyed and called next door to politely complain, what I got was firstly a door slammed in my face and then when I knocked again a load of abuse about how the dog would "come back when it was finished, so I shouldn’t moan about it!" and "your wife's dad has no business telling us to get our dog out of your garden, YOU should ask not him!"… I was stunned, we'd barely spoken to them ever and had been polite always. I shook my head and walked away but told them I expected them to replace the plants – they begrudgingly handed me £5 which barely covered the seeds but I couldn't be bothered to argue.

    A few months later in the evening our children were in bed and music was blaring through the walls – the granddaughter who lived there at the time was making a royal racket, my wife gave a couple of taps on the wall to let her know the kids were in bed, she tapped back and then turned the music UP. My wife went to their door to ask the music be turned down, as soon as she knocked it was switched off and then the granddaughter ran down the stairs to the door at the same time as J answered it, my wife said she'd tapped on the wall to indicate the music was too loud and that there was no need to turn it up in response, the granddaughter naturally went on the defensive and J started raving on again about the incidents with the dog (which had nothing to do with this complaint!) then an odd one came out, he started making wild rants about his anniversary and the police being called – first we'd heard of this and it was completely out of the blue. From what we can gather from numerous other arguments since they seemed to think we'd called the police over something at the time of their wedding anniversary – we never had and have no idea when any of this happened and it may have even been long before we moved in!

    The story started to take another twist that summer (1996) and this was something more disturbing… We noticed that J was regularly in his back garden at odd times, they always seemed to co-incide with my wife putting the washing out or doing the dishes at the sink in front of the window and he always spent a lot of time wandering up and down the dividing fence, it looked very much like he was actually spying on us through the kitchen window or when we were in the garden. He'd also started spending a lot of time talking to our kids but then vanishing as soon as I went into the garden. We dismissed this at first until I was idly chatting with a former neighbour I'd bumped into and began telling of our woes with J and M, that was when we first heard the "rumour" – this person had heard a number of tales about them, that M was know to be violent and that they had been hounded out of their previous home over allegations of J making (sexual) advances towards women and children. Surely not I thought, I don't deal in rumours anyway so tried to ignore that claim, but I'd certainly seen the evidence of M's violent streak coming out in a few arguments and on their many drunken returns home. I was getting more concerned about this milling around the fence though, it was more often and more brazen as the years went on, so we kept a log for a while, it was almost every day and multiple times on each occurrence, he was definitely going out of his way to spy/peep on us – mainly on my wife.

    A new neighbour over the road appeared on the scene, a young lady who was working in a pub, we knew her as she'd lived in another street near my wife's parents for a while and got chatting once she'd settled in, when the story of J and M began to be told she immediately looked ill – she'd been approached in the pub by J who had a request for her – could she wear something more revealing when she was walking around her house at night, yes he'd been watching her through her windows and even had the nerve to tell her in this way in the middle of a pub! She went on to say how he'd ended up banned from the pub after trying (drunkenly) to grope another female member of staff. That was it, I was complaining to the Council about them peeping on us (they are council tenants). We were asked to keep a log while the council manager contacted the police and social services to look into this along with him and decide what action to take. A few days later things exploded – J had been staring in again and my wife had lost her cool, she shouted "stop staring at me you pervert!" at him and he rushed into the house like a child caught in a naughty act. The next day our whole family were in the garden and J marched to the fence, M lurking on the doorway – he told me he had taken legal advice and was going to "sue me for everything I had" on the grounds that my wife called him a pervert and that as he saw it meant someone who messes with children (there'd been no mention of our children or anyone elses at that point though). I told him to go ahead and that it would make in interesting court case given what he had been doing, I suggested that he spoke to the council manager since we had already lodged complaints against him. At this point M erupted into a full four letter cascade of abuse towards my wife, we asked her to stop swearing in front of our kids, she continued, we ushered the kids into the house and tried to make sense of what was happening – "It's all her fault, she's a f***ing foreigner, f*** off back were you came from, you think your Lady Di"…. Foreigner? This one was puzzling, my wife is white, British and born in Stoke-on-Trent but her parents were both from Blyth… My wife asked her what she was on about, saying "I'm English the same as you!" M's reply surprised and embarrassed me – "I'm not English, I'm a Geordie, you're a foreigner, now f*** off back were you came from!", my God, this woman was actually taking racism to new levels, she was attacking my wife for not being a Geordie? Insane. The argument raged on and we kept calm, it was surreal, they both had a seething hatred for my wife and clearly only towards her!

    More came out and it was clear we'd been the topic of much discussion in the local pubs and clubs, M accused my wife of lying about an argument they'd had one day saying it never happened – odd because I'd heard about it from a neighbour when I came home that day, a good ten minutes before my wife told me what had happened. I hauled two council managers up to see us the next morning, we told them the full story of the argument. They said they'd spoken to both Police and Social Services and had nothing they could tell us but nothing they could base an eviction on either. However the swearing in front of the children was another matter and so they went next door to speak to J and M. I expected to hear all hell break loose, but there was silence, the managers returned half an hour later and said J and M had denied pretty much everything! They hadn't denied there was an argument, but denied all our claims about the pseudo-racism, swearing etc. I was stunned, they'd given them a warning but were going to do nothing else other than note it on file and refer us to a mediation service.

    The mediation service was little use, we had separate meetings and J and M put on a show for them acting the perfect couple, the mediators seemed at a loss but also gave the impression they didn't buy any of it. We ended by passing on the message that neither of them was to approach our children in any way and that we wanted nothing to do with them but should it be necessary to make contact that the local residents representative could act as a middle-man to pass messages back and forth (they’ve never bothered with this option).

    Following all of this I raised the back fence by adding some trellis to it and then heavily planted the border with tall shrubs to screen the kitchen window a little, this caused a few murmurings and J is regularly seen prodding at the shrubs, no doubt some complaint will come soon as I move on to tell you about his latest rantings and ravings (yes, we're only half way through the story!!!)….

    Our front gardens are fairly short and both are lawned, as J could no longer easily peep over the back fence and was now keeping a lower profile the only time we noticed him milling around a window was at the front boundary, where for some reason it took 20 minutes to mow a 8' x 6' piece of lawn, back and forth in a perfect position to look into the living room – again the timings were starting to tie in with when my wife would be in there and when she'd be getting ready to leave the house to collect the kids from school, oddly regular. So I planted a line of conifers along the border, they weren't in a position to block any light as the sun directly hits the front of the houses, I let them reach 6' and kept them trimmed. J freaked out, he demanded I chop them down completely or at least to under 4' I refused. He complained to the council and was told they were fine, the council manager contacted me to let me know the complaint had been made, but that they had no issues with the hedge as long as it was kept trimmed. J complained to a number of councillors and I think our local MP got a mouthful about it too! Neighbours spotted J and M rushing out and photographing the hedge after we had gone out one day and tales of the hedge being a regular moan at the local pubs started trickling back to us. He tried a new slant when we refused to cut it down, saying that his Granddaughter couldn't see to reverse her car off the drive when she visits and that we would be blamed for any accident she has! The hedge is centrally at least 12' from the drives of both houses and oddly I have no problems in a low sports car while she is in a people carrier! I pointed out that perhaps she and J needed to read the Highway Code about driving with due care and attention where one's view is restricted, doors slammed shut and there was a lot of shouting from inside the house.

    This is probably a good time to introduce the other player in the family, the 9yr old Grandson who lives down the street. He's in the same class at school as our eldest child and as you can guess there have been ructions between the two kids over the "feud" between our two households. Much like his granddad he goes out of the way to stare in through the windows or at us in the street, he spends a lot of time with them and I dread to think how they are poisoning his mind with hatred. One of his classic episodes was standing square in front of our house and kicking a football directly at the living room window repeatedly, thankfully he managed to hit the frame each time so the window didn't break. We'd been out at the time and when I went to see his mother (J and M's daughter) she denied he would do such a thing, after all the trouble with her parent's we'd gotten wise though, we'd installed a cctv camera at the front of the house and caught the whole thing on tape! She couldn't argue with that. It had an odd effect though, he still stares into the house when we are in, but ducks down below the wall if we are out, obviously not realising we leave the video recording constantly!

    After an incident between the two kids at school, we spoke to the mum having already confirmed with the teachers that her child was instigating almost every run-in, her response was typical of what we now see from her over anything – "don't pick on him just because you don't like my parents!" any complaint now is met with that attitude, she doesn't want to know anything about what he's done and puts every complaint down as being made purely because of the issues with J and M. Likewise J and M have adopted the same attitude when he is at their house, he could be burning our house down but if we say anything we're "picking on him".

    It goes on still, as massive as this story is, it's barely a fraction of what has gone on over the years, J now likes to lurk at a bedroom window and watch us in the garden when he thinks we're not going to notice him, the grandson lurks around like a miniature model of his grandfather and eggs other kids into carrying out mischief now. I'm waiting for the next big incident, I suspect the conifers at the front of the house will be targeted as they are really bugging him (and I can't see any valid reason why they should other than he can't see into our living room because of them)… who knows…

  • #2
    Hi Wile-E

    Welcome to the forum

    :wow: Wow... what a bunch you and your family are having to put up with. Talk about harassment!!! Have you logged any of these incidents? If not, this must be the first step. Keep log sheets of all these incidents. You can find them on the main website under resources. It is usually the first thing that needs to be done. Another is Mediation, this can sometimes do the trick.

    I know that there are others on this forum who can help you more and I'm sure they will give you much more advice.



    • #3
      Hi Wile-E and welcome to NFH in Britain

      Phew, you're really having a bad time with your neighbours from hell (NFH) aren't you? It sounds like there's always something going on.

      I think that you definitely need to start (or keep) recording everything. There are some blank sheets for you to use in the Resources Section, have a look here:

      You might also find it useful to check out the Self Help Article on Harassment aswell.

      If you nfh attempts to damage anything, contact the Police.

      Please start trying to record everything you can. Evidence is the most important thing to gather in situaitons like yours.

      Hopefully some other members will be along shortly to offer more suggestions for you.


      • #4
        Hi Wile-e and welcome

        Sheesh, you've got a right lot living next door to you I wonder what planet people like that come from, because they don't act like normal, decent human beings

        I can only re-iterate what Holly and tristar have said, record EVERYTHING! And keep on at the council. If you don't contact them regularly they'll think everything is fine and won't do anything to help. Do the parents of the grandson also live in council housing? If so complain about them as well. Ask the council what strategies they have in place to deal with antisocial behaviour.

        It can't be very comfortable, especially for your wife, to be living under the gaze of this NFH with the dubious habits

        Good luck, I'm sure other members will have more advice for you.

        "Almost anything you do will seem insignificant, but it is very important that you do it. You must be the change that you wish to see in the world." Gandhi


        • #5
          Thanks for the welcomes folks

          Yeah, we record incidents and have cctv to the front of the house, things are reasonably quiet at the minute, but you get that feeling that sooner or later there will be a trigger and it'll flare up again... the history has been like that, usually a quiet period for a few months then a spate of craziness.

          Both the NFH and the daughter+grandson are council tenants, yeah, we're owners. The council are aware of the history and do help out as much as possible, but a lot of what is going on is hard to describe/explain unless you are actually there and living amongst it - I mean especially in J's case, how do you clearly show that what he is doing is any kind of offence, the majority of it is just him staring at us and going out of his way to look in through the windows. I know we've been a hot topic in the pubs/clubs because they've actually (unknown to them) approached people we know with various wild tales.

          A previous neighbour on the other side of them also complained of similar issues to us, mostly the staring in again, they were also council tenants and the council moved them, seems like the council has little they can actually act upon to deal with J and M so we may well have to wait until a tangible incident occurs and push for them to be evicted at that point.

          On the flip side, we had a lovely old lady lived on the other side of us, sadly she died a few years ago... A youngish guy moved in with two young kids (4 and 6) he's a bit lazy and doesn't look after his garden much, plays his music loud at times, argues and fights with his girlfriend etc etc but all within tolerable levels, we've never once argued - despite having to speak to him a couple of times when something's caused a problem - always friendly and polite.... but if you look at him you'd think he'd be the NFH (shaved head, tattoo's etc).


          • #6

            Hi there, welcome to this great place!!!

            what a horrible, yet familiar story of annoying, pathetic small mided people with very little to occupy their minds other than nosing at what you are up to. :angry:

            they sound very jealous and envious. the trouble with getting kids involved is that they get very obnoxious and it is easy to lose your rag with them. please try not to retaliate(says I who has to literally grit her teeth and clench her fists to stop herself sometimes).

            does your cctv capture this odd bod when he is looking at your property? if it does you can build up a dossier of evidence, its like stalking and especially as he is staring at your wife. I would not like that one bit. :badmood:

            also this dog, is he one of those types that will jump any fence, no matter how high? i was wondering if you could attach trellis to the top of your fence to make it more difficult to get over, but i know some dogs will stop at nothing in their bid to escape....

            what a great idea it would be to get your nice neighbour with the tattoo to go round to your NFH and have a 'quiet word'. or perhaps you could swop houses?????? he he he. :lol:

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            • #7
              things are reasonably quiet at the minute, but you get that feeling that sooner or later there will be a trigger and it'll flare up again..

              Oh, I know that feeling. You can't even rest during the 'quiet' periods because you know, in your bones, that it isn't going to last. It's a form of chinese water torture Grr, I despise these people :angry:

              "Almost anything you do will seem insignificant, but it is very important that you do it. You must be the change that you wish to see in the world." Gandhi


              • #8
                Hi Wile-E

                Oh yes...I too can relate to the quiet periods in NFH behaviour. I seem to be in the middle of one now, and it worries the hell out of me because you never know whether they've given up or just getting ready for the next bout :box: :lol:



                • #9
                  Since the council managers visited them, M has very much kept out of our way, which I know isn't a good thing - with her aggressive and violent temper she'll be bottling all her hatred up.

                  One comical moment from last summer was when I was sat on the patio with our 9yr old, out of the blue he asked "Dad, what's he looking at?" I spun around and looked up (knowingly) and there was J hanging out of the window watching us, staring directly down... he almost set his neck trying to dive for cover!


                  • #10
                    The mind well and truly boggles at the behaviour of NFH.




                    • #11
                      you could also plant some prickly shrubs under your windows, this would also deter burglers as well as NFH peering at you!

                      (see the last news letter for ideas!)

                      I might get a bit blue peter-ry and get some invisible cotton on sticks and some cut bamboo that would rattle if knocked onto the cotton and postion it around your garden where creepy man gains access.

                      if he peers at you in the night and walks into the "trap" he wont get hurt but will make a lot of noise and be wrapped in cotton!!

                      for a step up from that you could put honey on the cotton and it would end up on him, he cant complain as it would mean he had been on your land!!


                      • #12
                        Hi Wile-E

                        What a night mare! :badmood: I can see why it's not been easy to get good evidence on some of this strange/unsettling nfh behaviour. I suppose you can only keep logging and using cctv. Is yours one with built-in sound recording? If not, is it worth upgrading? And could you have one front and back of the property? Any witnesses to anything who would be prepared to back you up would be useful too!

                        Keep us posted, and lots of luck