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  • Farmers are above the law

    We moved to Shropshire four months ago, following job move. On the third day of moving in our farmer neighbour dumped a huge pile of manure measuring 35 metres long and 3 metres high along our garden boundary. I visited our neighbour to introduce myself and ask if he could move the pile a little further back, but just got a torrent of abuse. I told him I had not come for an argument and left. Within twenty minutes, the police arrived on my doorstep, saying that he had reported me for behaving in a threatening way towards him. I told them this was untrue, and they left. Following this I called the Environmental Health Inspector, but they said they could do nothing, and I should accept the manure as part of living in the country. My neighbour then started shouting at me over the fence, and from his car. He also throws stones at my dog, and put a glass bottle in my horses stable. In October we took down some conifers in our garden. The bulk of timber was taken to our orchard, but we decided to burn the toppings in our garden. Just as my husband lit the fire the Fire Brigade arrived. It seems our neighbour decided to call the Fire Brigade, rather than ask us to move our bombfire. My Husband then decided that we should speak to him directly to see if we could find out why he was being so difficult, and smooth the waters. This was a big mistake. Our neighbour refused to talk to us, and his son threatened us with a shotgun (even though our 13 year old son was sitting in the car). Later in the day his daughter hit me with a riding whip as she passed by on her horse. I complained to the police, but when they interviewed her her family made counter accusations to the effect that we had behaved aggressively when we had visited earlier in the day. The case has now been sent to the Crown Prosecution Service, but we have been told by our solicitor, that it is unlikely they will prosecute her, because apart from medical evidence, and the evidence of my Husband (who witnessed the assault), I

    have no independent witness. Instead, our Solicitor said, they may they make an order for us to keep the peace, in case we decide to do something rash in the future (which would really rub salt in the wound). Recently I did some research about the law relating to manure disposal and found that the Environment Agency had various guidelines to prevent run off causing water pollution. I complained to the Environment Agency, and they instructed him to move it away from the water course. However, they then backed off because he managed to persuade them that our complaint was just an underhanded attempt to make him sell his land to us (which was completely untrue and ridiculous). It seems to us that Farmers are above the law, so we really don't know how to deal with this.

  • #2
    Hi architect and welcome to NFHiB



    Hmm, your NFH family sound like a nasty one . Not all farmers are bad as I'm sure you're aware - just seems like you bought a property next to a particularly unpleasant one.



    Many members here will be able to empathise with your situation, there are many stories here of NFH totally turning the tables and lying to all and sundry to paint themselves in a better picture. The suggestion of independent witnesses is a good one, although in this day and age it's sad that people can't be reasonable and considerate towards each other.



    I'm just wondering whether you know of any reason why he/the family should behave in such a way towards you? Did they want to buy the house you bought? Or, have you bought this property or is it rented? If you have just purchased it, did the previous owners disclose any disputes with this farmer/family?



    I'm sure that many more members will be along shortly to offer advice and support. The only thing that I can think of at the moment is the possibility of mediation: it's always a good idea to bear it in mind, but whether it's appropriate for you in your situation I don't know. You can find your local service HERE!



    It must have been an awful shock for you and your family to be met by the kind of responses you received and I hope that you are all sticking together and supporting each other through it. It can be very tough, I know.



    I hope that you have a good Solicitor too, who's really on your side and fighting your corner for you.



    Take care.



    :nfh1:

    Comment


    • #3
      Hi Architect



      Welcome to the Forum .



      You sound like you are living next to a right old bigot - what's his problem??? The arrrogant mule - grrr :angry: .



      Do you know if the people you purchased from had similar problems? They could be liable if they have failed to declare any disputes with the neighbour to you before you purchased. :unsure:



      I am very sorry that you are living next to such petty and pathetic beasts - they give all rural folk a bad name :frown: .



      I have also heard of people being given the brush off by Environmental Health about 'nasy niffy things' being dumped on farms. They seem to say 'like it or lump it, it's part of country life' - but as you have discovered, that's not necessarily the case, so good for you for finding out that he does have to shift it.



      Your NFH are typical bullies - many of us are suffering at the hands of truly evil people with similar traits, so you are not alone, if that's any consolation .



      I hope it all goes well for you with the Court proceedings, but what a nightmare...Please keep us posted - you'll find we have very supportive cyber-shoulders for you to lean on :thumbs:.



      Take care



      Mazza



      :ban:

      Comment


      • #4
        Hello there Architect, so sorry to hear how badly you are being treated. I do hope your solicitor manages to rubbish these people. Its so frustrating that these people are such skillful liars, I know. The environmental agency have a duty to make sure he abides by the law, perhaps you should go to the top there.



        Take care, good luck with those, people.

        Comment


        • #5
          Hello Architect and welcome to the forum



          There's no getting away from it, some people are just downright nasty with an evil streak running through them



          And how typical that they can turn something around so they are perceived as the victims :rant:



          Giving them a very wide berth would seem to be the wise thing to do. However sometimes you can't do that. May I suggest you carry a small dictaphone around with you so that if they hurl verbal abuse at you you can record it. Also log every incident, no matter how small.



          Has this farmer lived in the area a long time? Do you know if any other neighbours (if there are any) have problems with him? The fact that he called the Fire Brigade so quickly suggests that he's spying on you. It's plain he's a bully and he seems to be bringing his children up the same way - what a truly nasty family! It's their sort that lends to the stereotype of the miserable, bullyish farm family.



          Instead, our Solicitor said, they may they make an order for us to keep the peace, in case we decide to do something rash in the future


          I'd fight that if I were you. You've done nothing wrong why should you be penalised for something you MIGHT do? Your NFH son MIGHT actually use the shotgun! :rant: Will he be bound over as well?? :rant: I think your NFH might possibly have 'connections' which is why he and his miserable family are allowed to behave in such a despicable manner.



          Good luck, I hope things go well for you.



          Misty
          "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

          Comment


          • #6
            Hi Architect, and welcome to NfHiB



            I can mainly only reiterate what other members have said, and feel you have obviously tried to be very reasonable here. You appear, however not to be dealing with reasonable people!



            I would have a shot at approaching a mediation organisation, not because I expect that your nfh will conduct themselves in a manner conducive to successful mediation (probably the reverse). But it does have some benefits. Firstly, if you offer, and they refuse...who looks unreasonable in not even considering it? If they agree, and cannot then conduct themselves reasonably, you have independent witnesses as to their behaviour. There is a very slim chance with these sort of people that a mutually agreeable solution can be reached, but I wouldn't count on it. If anything ends up in either a civil or a crimainal court, then a point for you in offering to sit down and attempt to find a resolution to the problems. Btw, approach a mediation service, and let them approach your neighbour....you don't have to make the offer to your nfh.



            the very best of luck with this situation, and take care,



            Sapph

            Comment


            • #7
              Thank you to those who responded to our Farmers above the law message. We would like to respond to a few of the questions, suggestions and comments that have been made.

              Firstly, In answer to the questions why our neighbours are behaving in this way towards us, and did our predecessors also have problems. The short answer is we do not know. However, we believe that they would behave in the same way no matter who lived next to them. In fact we were told, on the day we moved in, by other neighbours, that the family had a reputation for bullying and threatening local people (and as a result were being ignored and isolated from the community). We have asked around to see if the people we bought the house from had similar problems, but have been told that they never put their complaints in writing, or notified the police; so I suppose technically there was nothing for them to disclose in the contract of sale.

              Secondly, we think the suggestions are very helpful. We have taken on board the idea about mediation and have now contacted the organisation mentioned. Then, even though we know that our neighbour will not agree to mediation, we can at least say we have tried. We are also going to carry round a dictaphone (although we dont know where you get such a thing). Had I been carrying one last Friday it would have been very useful, because the son, who had threatened us with a shotgun in October, shouted out `bang, bang', as he passed by in his car (which

              he probably thought was very witty).

              Thirdly, the comment that not all farmer's are like this is understood. We know that our neighbour is really not representative of farming folk. Our complaint is that the police and Environmental Health department seem to treat our neighbour as though he is above the law. Even the Environment Agency, who initially instructed him to move the heap now seem to be backing off. This could be because he has simply refused to cooperate, and they do not want the effort of having to take action, or because he told the local inspector that our complaint was unjustified and made simply because we want to force him to sell his land to us (which is untrue).

              Thanks again for all your support.

              Comment


              • #8
                hi there and welcome



                argos dictaphone



                argos do dictaphones the cheapest is £18, the most expensive £130!!!



                the link is there for you to have a browse, hope it helps a bit



                please stay safe :flowers: :clover:

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by architect@Dec 16 2003, 11:34 AM

                  We have¬* asked around to see if the people we bought the house from had similar problems, but have been told that they never put their complaints in writing, or notified the police; so I suppose technically there was nothing for them to disclose in the contract of sale.
                  Hi there



                  Hmmm, I would disagree with this.



                  A complaint doesn't have to be in writing or to any place in particular. My (albeit limited ) knowledge of this kind of situation now, is that the vendors need to disclose on the SPIF anything that could cause a dispute between the owner and a neighbour.



                  You might want to check this out with the Solicitor that dealt with your conveyancing. You could have a hefty claim against the vendors. :huh:



                  I'll echo what Beth says, stay safe.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hi,



                    I think you need to have a long think about how you are going to cope with your neighbours. A strategy is needed that the whole family are agreed on that will work in the long-term.



                    Because every thought you have effects how you feel, try to minimise the stress and unhappiness you must be feeling by changing what you are thinking about your situation. Try not to become obsessed with thinking about your neighbours, distract yourself as much as possible - get out as much as you can. Focus on how your strategy will help you in the future.



                    In a material sense I think your aim should be to deny your neighbours any kind of reaction and avoid them as much as possible. Passive resistance is very assertive when it denies them what they would like.



                    Don't give up hope that things will improve.
                    'The only kind of courage that matters is the kind that gets you from one minute to the next.' - Mignon McLaughlin

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re the SPIF; Interesting info in the following link

                      http://www.nfh.org.uk/forums/index.php?showtopic=2441

                      and, it seems, this doesn't necesarily have to extend as far as formal action. Definitely one to check with the solicitor. In case you have any thoughts of selling in the future, this is important to you as potential vendors too



                      Good luck with the mediation route, as long as you are aware that this could need to be declared on the SPIF in the future (?), and hope that it helps clarify your position, as regards reasonableness here!



                      Do get some sound legal advice.



                      regards,



                      Sapph

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