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Pensioner refuses to pay £5,000 fine after neighbours complain about rubbish in his garden – South London News

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A pensioner fined £5,000 over having two cars, a van with no wheels and assorted rubbish in his cluttered back garden is refusing to pay up.

Geoffrey Hobson, 79, believe his human rights have been abused and says he intends to appeal.

Bromley council got involved after neighbours took issue with Mr Hobson’s garden, including the abandoned vehicles, old fridges, ladders and overgrown plants.

He said he struggled to deal with his backyard after his gardener passed away, while he insists the two cars still work and the van now functions as a “garden shed”.

A failure to turn up to court after being issued with an untidy site notice means he is now facing a £1k fine and over £4k in prosecution costs.

But Mr Hobson insists he should be allowed to have his garden, in Beckenham, how he wants it.

Asked if he’d pay the fine, Mr Hobson said: “No. I’m going to appeal to my human rights because I had every right. I have a health problem and I’m old.

“I’m not capable of keeping a garden that size down. I’m also now on a pension and I cannot afford to employ anyone to do anything.

“It must have been two years ago when I first put [the vehicles] here. They still start, they are runnable. The van is my shed.

“It’s got no engine in it, it’s a locker. All it is a garden shed, really. It’s full of antique furniture. It was suppose to be moved but it’s virtually impossible now.”

Vehicles in Geoffrey Hobson’s garden (image: Kiro Evans)

The van-turned-shed, silver Ford Mondeo and Blue Ford Galaxy sit in a garden Mr Hobson estimates to be 80 foot long.

The clutter has irked neighbours, but Mr Hobson, who has lived in the same house for 50 years, does not see the issue.

“I’m a lover of nature. All I want is a peaceful life,” he said.

“Why are they persecuting me for something you can’t see? I’ve seen front gardens much worse. I don’t need all of this.”

He said he missed his court date after oversleeping due to medication he takes for his health problems, which escalated the situation and led to the fine.

Angela Page, executive councillor for Public Protection and Enforcement at Bromley council, said the council took this issue seriously.

She said: “There is a legal criterion of what constitutes an untidy site. And when a property falls below this standard and becomes extremely untidy, then we can and will take action to protect the amenity of the street and its residents.

“We will always seek to engage directly with the resident and ask that improvements be made.  If, despite this, the situation does not improve then the decision will invariably be made to prosecute, which shows just how seriously we take this matter.”

Pictured top: Geoffrey Hobson in his garden (image: Kiro Evans)

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