An abusive pensioner has been convicted of harassing his neighbours - because their gardens don’t look as good as his.
Green-fingered John Bushell, 89, has immaculate hedges, trimmed bushes and a well-kept lawn outside his smart detached home in Hebburn, Tyne and Wear.
But he believes his neighbors’ failure to maintain the outside of their houses has affected the value of his £200,000 property.
Since buying the house in 1960, irate Mr Bushell has verbally abused his neighbours because their ‘messy’ gardens mean he can’t find a buyer for his home.
During a long campaign of abuse, he branded neighbours Marjorie and Ken Mills ‘scumbags’, tipped rubbish into other peoples’ gardens and modified his guttering so rain poured outside their homes.
Bushell has breached a restraining order ten times during a two decade reign of terror - and has received five convictions.
He has now been convicted again after a tirade got so heated he threatened to burn down Ken's home 'before I die'.
Bushell appeared at South Tyneside Magistrates Court on Monday for yet another breach of the restraining order.
The outside of retired bookmaker Mr Bushell’s house is in perfect condition - with polished statues, a perfectly varnished front door and an intricate white trellis around his windows.
District Judge Helen Cousins also urged him to move house when he appeared in court this week.
She said: 'Your garden looks very beautiful but you can't behave as you did. You have got previous convictions for doing exactly the same thing.
'The two-year suspended sentence should allow you time to sell your house and spend the rest of your life in peace.'
But speaking after the case Bushell said he couldn't sell up - and it was his neighbour's fault.
He said: 'I've taken the house off the market. Who is going to buy it when you see the state of the gardens around here?'
The tensions began in the road when Bushell moved to the street in 1960 when it was first built.
He believed that many of the other houses did not meet his level of perfection, with the arguments escalating.
Bushell, who is married, was first issued with a restraining order for verbally abusing Kenneth and Marjorie in 1998.
But he continued to pester his neighbours and was jailed in 2001 at Newcastle Crown Court for three months after admitting three charges of harassment.
After seeing a secret video of Bushell still harassing his neighbours, Judge Michael Cartlidge told him: 'We all love our homes but this is hopeless.
'This is not someone with a short fuse. It is someone with no fuse at all.'
Speaking after an earlier hearing, Bushell’s neighbour Marjorie Mills said: 'This has been an absolute nightmare. There has never been a moment of peace from Bushell.
'I'm such a nervous wreck and haven't been outside the front door for three weeks because I'm just so scared he'll shout more abuse at me.
'He is always saying how me and my husband are filthy people but I can't understand why. I tidy and clean my home every day and it is always in a respectable state.'
In court this week, however, Charlton Carr, defending Bushell, said the 89-year-old was merely ‘frustrated’.
Mr Carr told the court: 'He is a very house proud man who likes everything in its place, in its proper place, and unfortunately he hasn't got on with his neighbours over a period of time because he feels they don't appear to look after their properties in the same manner.
He was sentenced to an eight-week custodial sentence, suspended for two years, and was also ordered to pay costs of £250 and a victim surcharge of £80.