'Greenhouse' unwrapped in time for Christmas after owner finally caves in and trims eyesore

Rishma Dosani

A homeowner who was fined when he refused to cut back overgrown ivy and weeds that left his house hidden from view for 10 years has finally unwrapped his home in time for Christmas.

Ken Mould's three-bedroom detached home was completely covered by shrubbery, making it invisible to passers-by.

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The 50-year-old allowed his garden to become so overrun with plants that the shape of the building could not be made out and not even the chimney could be seen.

Mr Mould still lives inside with his wife Diane, 50, despite the roof and first-floor windows being hidden under a thick layer of ivy.

He was fined £1,000 in February at Stafford Magistrates Court after ignoring council orders to get the eyesore trimmed, but has finally given in, revealing the full house in all its glory.

Council planning officer Mazer Aqbal said Mr Mould had been ordered to get rid of the ivy from the front of the property, including windows and doors, to remove all shrubbery from his garage roof and to clear the front garden.

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He said: "Basically he has been told to make it look how you would expect a house to look, at the moment you can't tell whether you're looking at the front or the back of the building."

And neighbours living on Swallow Close described the nightmare of living on the same street as the father-of-one.

Neighbour James Partridge, 35, said: "It's a relief he's shaved it off, that was an eyesore to live next to for so long.

"I don't know how they lived in there, must have cost a fortune in lighting.

"The windows were completely obscured, I wonder if he'll leave it now again or keep it trimmed."

One resident, who did not wish to be named, said: "That thing brings down the house prices for all our street, it's an eyesore, I don't know how they can live in there.

"Whenever I see someone emerge from that mess I do a double take, they must either live in complete darkness or spend a fortune on lighting.

"They are bit of a troublesome pair to be honest.

"It¹s crazy how they could let their property get into such a mess. It's a nightmare to live by.

"Their daughter has gone off to university, I can't imagine her coming back, that's an embarrassing place to bring your friends or boyfriend back to."

Another neighbour added: "Keith's a real character, a bit of a rebel without a cause. I do like him but he lives by his own rules.

"It would be a bit off-putting for potential buyers wanting to move in next door. He's been locked in a wrangle with the council for a while now.

"But he's a decent bloke really, once that ivy takes hold its a big job to shift it. You've got to feel for him in a way."