A RETIRED policeman who grabbed his neighbour around the neck when a garden boundary dispute turned ugly has been convicted of assault.

Nicholas Williams, 67, lost the plot after he found Peter Laver in his back garden inspecting a new 6ft fence the defendant had put up.

Williams' partner shouted at their 73-year-old neighbour to 'get off my land' to which he replied: "I'm allowed to be here."

The defendant, incensed, ran down the patio steps of his detached home in Chafeys Avenue, Weymouth and chased Mr Laver to the bottom of the garden.

He then held Mr Laver over a wire fence while shouting at him for several seconds until neighbours ran over to separate them.

Dorset Echo:

The fence (in red) which sparked the row    Picture: BNPS

Magistrates' heard there had been tensions between the two men for at least six months before things boiled over on the afternoon of June 6.

Mr Laver maintained he had a right to access the rear of his neighbour's property according to a legal covenant attached to the deeds of his property, which he bought 13 years ago.

It is thought this related to maintaining drainage pipes that ran into the Williams' garden.

The feud is said to have escalated when a flower bed behind Mr Laver's garage was built, causing Mr Laver concerns that it could lead to flooding in his garage where he keeps his Mercedes car.

In June a 'passive aggressive' note appeared on the Williams' fence which stated that nobody had a right of access to their garden and if anyone wanted access they had to give the homeowner four weeks notice.

Dorset Echo:

Peter Laver   Picture: BNPS

Elizabeth Valera, prosecutor, told magistrates in Weymouth: "At 3.20pm on June 6, Mr Laver accepts he walked on the defendant's garden.

"Mr Williams' partner said 'I am watching you, get off my land', to which Mr Laver said 'I'm allowed to be here'.

"Mr Williams ran down the garden steps and then pushed Mr Laver against the fence and he (Mr Laver) acted in self-defence and pushed him back.

"Mr Williams then grabbed Mr Laver by the throat and pushed him back over the fence and held him over it while shouting at his face.

"Friends and neighbours came and separated them."

Williams pleaded guilty to one count of assault by beating.

Defending himself, Williams, of previous good character, said he had been subjected to 'intimidation' by the 'stocky' former builder Mr Laver and picked on by his other neighbours.

He added: "I'm sorry for taking the court's time today and for any injuries caused to Mr Laver as I certainly did not intend to injure him."

Williams, of Chafeys Avenue, Weymouth, was handed a conditional discharge as there was no evidence that Mr Laver sustained any injuries in the skirmish.

He was issued with a 12 month restraining order protecting Mr Laver, and ordered to pay £107 in costs but not compensation.

Presiding magistrate Sara Saunders said: "Neighbour disputes are always difficult, however you do stand before us charged with assault and you have pleaded guilty so we must sentence you.

"We didn't see any evidence of injuries (to Mr Laver) for compensation (to be awarded)."

Mr Laver said afterwards: "As far as I'm concerned I've won. He has ended up with a criminal record for no reason at all, just because I went into his garden which I was allowed to do."