Millionaire builds wall of hay bales to block neighbour's view of his land

A millionaire has been accused of building an 8ft high wall of hay bales ‘out of spite’ to block his neighbour’s view. 

Maxine Turner, 78, used to be able to see a nice vista of horses in the field next door. 

But now her neighbour Stephen Bett, a former Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk, has created a barricade of bales.

His neighbour blamed the ill-feeling on the mysterious felling of a line of 95 leylandii trees.

Mr Bett, 69, planted them to screen his property, but someone came and chopped them down at night – and the culprit has never been found.

Mrs Turner’s son John Turner, who lives with her, believes he has been unfairly blamed for cutting them down, with the hay bales placed in front of his mum’s house in revenge.

Mr Bett has a parkland meadow in front of an 18th century mansion, while Mrs Turner has a more modest home in a cul-de-sac.

Mr Turner, 50, who is his mother’s carer, has had some conflict with his neighbour over the issue.

When the wall of bales was first built, he stormed round to complain and admits he lost his temper when talking to a 25-year-old housekeeper who was at the house while Mr Bett was on holiday.

He then went back and knocked down the wall by toppling over the top bales which weighed around 600lbs each.

Since then, the wall has been rebuilt using a digger to be more sturdy and harder to knock down.

Mr Bett, 69, insists that he had only erected the wall because he did not want to look at his neighbours ‘barbecuing and putting their washing out’.

Mr Turner, a part time gardener, said: ‘My mother has multiple sclerosis and macular degeneration so her eyesight is failing.

‘Looking out on the horses on the meadow was a real pleasure for her – but now all she can see is this wall made of straw.’

Mr Turner said Mr Bett upset locals when he planted the leylandii trees close to his border to screen his view of around four homes.

The conifers started off as 18 inch high saplings but grew to a height of about ten feet before 95 of them were hacked down on July 2.

Mr Turner told how he received a letter from Mr Bett, saying that he was going to replant his trees, and erect a fence with ‘other more covert security’ to protect them.

His letter added: ‘We would now seem to have a “neighbour dispute”. I believe you were thinking of selling your mother’s house in due course.

Mr Turner said he regarded the letter as threatening him by warning that the value of his widowed mother’s house could be hit.

He said that police visited him and warned him about his confrontation with Mr Bett’s housekeeper.

Mr Bett whose father Frank, 89, died two years ago, added: ‘I just saw red when I saw this pile of bales. It took a lot of effort to push them over.’

‘The fact is that he is trying to intimidate me out of spite. My mother is absolutely devastated. She can’t believe this is happening.’

Mr Bett confirmed that he had reported the loss of his 95 leylandii trees to police, but officers had told him nothing could be done as it was not known who was responsible.

Mr Bett added: ‘The police were called as he came round and was extremely abusive and intimidating to a young lady working for us who had no idea what he was talking about.

‘He thinks he is entitled to a view, but he is not.

‘They have cut down their hedges to get a view, but it is not a good view for me. Why should I have to look at what they are doing?

A Norfolk Police spokesperson said: ‘Police were called to reports of criminal damage to trees overnight on Saturday July 2.

‘The incident happened at a property off Hall Lane, Thornham. Following an investigation, all lines of enquiry have been exhausted pending any further information.

‘The victim has been informed and crime prevention advice given.’

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