A PENSIONER was caught on CCTV ripping up his neighbour’s plants and dumping soil amid a bitter row over a tiny piece of driveway space that dragged on for years.
John Weiniger, 72, has been found guilty of criminal damage and harassment as he became obsessed with trying to reclaim a two-inch wide sliver of land between his house and that of Samantha and James Miller in an Oxfordshire village.
The neighbours have been locked in dispute over the contested patch and a two-day trial at Oxford Magistrates’ Court heard how the “rambunctious” OAP crept out after dark to pull up plants and move their bins down the road.
Mr and Mrs Miller were even forced to resort to installing CCTV – catching Weiniger go out on 3am forays into the garden, destroying plants and causing other damage at least nine times.
After moving into their £950,000 property in the village of Mollington in 2020, Weiniger decided to wage a campaign of harassment against his new neighbours.
They decided to get work done to the front of their home, which the court was told “enraged” Weiniger as he “threatened everyone there with jail”.
He then barked about his claim to the tiny strip of land separating their homes and, two days later, Mr and Mrs Miller spotted soil and flowers they had planted had been dug up and dumped outside their home.
The OAP then started creeping out of his large detached house under cover of darkness and proceeded to dig up a flower bed which belonged to the Miller’s and which separated their property from Weiniger’s. They both shared the concrete driveway.
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Magistrates heard how the pensioner dug up hyacinths and other plants, tossed turf he took from the grassy ground over the wall into the Miller’s garden along with paving slabs and carted the couple’s dustbins down the road to other houses, putting his own bins where the Miller’s had been.
Bemused, Mr and Mrs Miller suspected that the odd goings-on were the work of Weiniger and set up CCTV cameras on their home which captured him embarking on his midnight ventures.
Syne “tit-for-tat campaign” saw even even photograph Mrs Miller as she gardened.
Uiteindelik – and in desperation – the Millers contacted the police and their neighbour was arrested and charged with several counts of causing criminal damage and one charge of harassment.
During his trial, Weiniger said the initial dispute over the patch of land began almost 15 years ago when his previous neighbours moved a boundary fence around two inches onto what he claims was his land.
Land Registry documents, egter, show the flower bed belongs to the Millers, which Weiniger declared as “verkeerde” in court.
Weiniger denied the charges brought against him but was found guilty of seven offences, and was ordered to pay almost £3,000 in fines and costs.
He was also handed a restraining ordered and told not to approach the Millers or their home for five years.
Mrs Miller said in her victim impact statement: “I have been dealing with the issues caused by Weiniger for over two years now.
“The escalation in his behaviour over the past few months has caused me a great deal of worry about what will happen next.
“I am home alone and I worry about what he might do with me and my baby. I am full of anxiety over what might happen and this affects my work.
“I feel that this has taken over our lives.”