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Thornham hay bales dispute continues as former Norfolk Police and Crime Commissioner Stephen Bett says neighbours 'aren't entitled to view'



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A former Norfolk Police and Crime Commissioner who has been accused of blocking his neighbours' view with hay bales has said they are 'not entitled to one'.

Stephen Bett, who was PCC for the county from 2012 to 2016, has become involved in a dispute with his Thornham neighbour John Turner due to the pile of hay bales obstructing the view from his mother's home.

As previously reported by the Lynn News, Mr Tuner, 50, of Shepherd's Pightle, said the blocked view was upsetting for his disabled mum Maxine, 78, who has M.S and eye condition macular degeneration, as her main joy has been looking out over the fields where she has lived for 40 years.

John Turner in the garden at his mother's home in Thornham with hay bales behind him blocking the view. Picture: SWNS
John Turner in the garden at his mother's home in Thornham with hay bales behind him blocking the view. Picture: SWNS

Mr Turner said: "I’m prepared to go to court for this, my only concern is mother will need support. I am a wreck and haven't slept."

The villager said someone had recently cut down 95 conifer trees - planted four years ago by Mr Bett - prompting suspicion to fall on him.

"As I’m the fittest the finger seems to be pointing at me, which I can assure you it wasn’t," he said.

Former Norfolk Police and Crime Commissioner Stephen Bett
Former Norfolk Police and Crime Commissioner Stephen Bett

Mr Bett, who has lived there 20 years, then erected hay bales stacked on top of each other so they stood 11ft tall, blocking the view, Mr Turner claims.

Police were called on July 12 to the neighbour dispute after Mr Turner lost his temper and shoved the bales but it was decided no crime had been committed.

Mr Bett, who was PCC for the area until 2016, then allegedly rebuilt the hay bales which are still stacked, although slightly less tall because they are on their side.

The row has continued to rumble on, with Mr Bett, 69, telling national newspaper The Sun: “He thinks he is entitled to a view but he is not.

The view of bales that can be seen from Maxine Turner's garden in Thornham. Picture: SWNS
The view of bales that can be seen from Maxine Turner's garden in Thornham. Picture: SWNS

"I don’t want to see these people in their gardens, barbecuing and putting their washing out.”

But Mr Turner said, before his dad Frank died, the view of fields with horses running around was the best thing in his life.

Just before he died of Covid-19 in January 2021, aged 89, he asked his son to take care of his wife - which Mr Turner says he is now doing by fighting for her right to a nice view.

He has said he won't be attempting to push over the hay bales in future and is stumped about how to challenge it.

John Turner speaks about the hay bales blocking the view from his mother's home in Thornham

"I want my mother with what sight she's got to see the horses running around. She's pretty much housebound," Mr Turner added.

"My parents had been here since 1982. Mr Bett moved in 20 years ago.

"He said he didn't like my mother's washing, or the barbecues which we don't have.

"She's losing her vision and has M.S, she can't leave the house really, she loses too much energy.

The view of bales that can be seen from Maxine Turner's garden in Thornham. Picture: SWNS
The view of bales that can be seen from Maxine Turner's garden in Thornham. Picture: SWNS

"She tends to look out the window to see the horses go past and now all she can see is those bales of hay.

"Within a year her sight has deteriorated, all I wanted was for her to have something to look at before it completely goes.

"Mother phoned me up she said the farmer has put these bales in front of our garden.

"I saw them and a red mist came up and I pushed them all down.

"Within a week he'd put them back up again on their sides. They're nearly a tonne each."

A spokesman for Norfolk Police 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, Hunstanton.

"Following an investigation, all lines of enquiry have been exhausted pending any further information.

"The victim has been informed and crime prevention advice given.

"Norfolk Police were contacted on Tuesday 12 July regarding an incident in Thornham involving a number of stacked hay bales.

"Enquiries established that no criminal offence had been committed."



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