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25 June 2013, 14:26
A man in South Cambridgeshire has to pay more than £1,300 in fines and costs - after refusing to cut back his trees.
Mr John Fulcher, of 27 Station Road, Whittlesford, ignored pleas for him to cut back a row of conifers his neighbour had lodged official complaints about.
South Cambridgeshire District Council enforcement officers visited John Fulcher, after complaints that he had failed to comply with an earlier legal notice that ensured he maintained the hedge at a maximum height of 3.75 metres.
Following the visit and numerous letters asking him to reduce the height of the conifers the Council had no option but to take legal action.
Mr Fulcher was summoned to appear at Cambridge Magistrates' court on Thursday (20 June) but he failed to appear.
In his absence he was found guilty of the offence and fined £800, ordered to pay the Council's costs totalling £440 and a victim surcharge of £80.
The Council action was taken under section 69 of the Anti-Social Behaviour Act 2003 that states hedges and trees must be kept at a height that does not have a negative impact on neighbours.
Mr Fulcher has been written to and informed he now has 28 days to complete the work or risk further prosecution.
Cllr Nick Wirght, South Cambridgeshire District Council's cabinet member for planning and economic development, said: "We never want to take this type of action but have had no other option as Mr Fulcher has ignored numerous warning and pleas to cut back the conifers to the permitted height.
"We have a duty to all our residents and when we receive complaints we must look into them as neighbourly disturbances have a real impact on people's lives.
"We hope Mr Fulcher now takes note and we do not need to take this kind of step again."