Turf war with a twist: Pensioner rips up neighbours’ flowers at 3am in garden row

·2-min read
John Weiniger - Vagner Vidal/Hyde News & Pictures Ltd
John Weiniger - Vagner Vidal/Hyde News & Pictures Ltd

A pensioner crept out of his house in the middle of the night to rip up his neighbours’ flowers and throw turf into their garden in a row over a “two-inch strip of land”, a court heard.

The bizarre dispute between John Weiniger, 72, and James and Samantha Miller, his next-door neighbours, took place in the quiet Oxfordshire village of Mollington.

It all began when a previous neighbour of Weiniger allegedly stole “a two-inch piece of land” by moving a fence at the rear of his driveway, which he shared with the pensioner.

Weiniger, who admitted he could be “rambunctious” at times, claimed this meant he could no longer take Captain, his African grey parrot, out for car trips because he was unable to get the bird into his vehicle.

When the Millers, both respected surgeons, bought the £950,000 house and moved in, Weiniger decided to wage a campaign of harassment against his new neighbours in a bid to reclaim his land.

James and Samantha Miller - Vagner Vidal/Hyde News & Pictures Ltd
James and Samantha Miller - Vagner Vidal/Hyde News & Pictures Ltd

During a two-day trial in Oxford, magistrates heard how the pensioner dug up hyacinths and other plants and tossed turf he took from the grassy ground over the wall into the Millers’ garden.

He also carted the couple’s dustbins down the road to other houses, putting his own bins where the Millers’ had been.

Mr and Mrs Miller suspected that the odd goings-on were the work of Weiniger and set up CCTV cameras that captured the pensioner sneaking out of his house at 3am to carry out his campaign of harassment.

Eventually, the Millers contacted the police and their neighbour was arrested and charged with numerous counts of causing criminal damage and one charge of harassment.

Weiniger denied the charges at Oxford Magistrates’ Court, but was found guilty of seven of the offences. He was also given a restraining order not to approach the Millers or their home for five years.

The pensioner was handed a fine of £1,700 for his offences, as well as being ordered to pay £775 worth of prosecution costs.

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