Why has this woman been trapped in her own home?

Trapped by neighbour's fence

Wendy and Paul Collins from Brownhills in the West Midlands, watched in horror as their neighbours erected a 6 foot fence at the bottom of their front garden, and around the side of their property - blocking their garden gate, and trapping them in their home.

Wendy told the Daily Mail that she immediately called the police, and then the council, who told her that no planning permission was required for the fence, and that it was just a neighbour dispute that she'd have to sort out herself.

The couple are now unable to walk out of their own front gate - unless they then use a stepladder to scale the fence. Their car is also stuck behind the fence - and isn't going anywhere. 62-year-old retired teacher Wendy told the Mirror: "We've been barricaded in. It feels like we are behind some kind of Berlin Wall."

Wendy and her husband Paul, a 60-year-old engineer, can still use the back door, and a rear driveway, but the car is stranded, and the couple are unable to access their own front door.

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It's the bizarre result of an ongoing argument between the Collins' and their neighbours. Their home faces onto a car park, serving a block of 12 flats. The owners of the flats have set up a company called Sadler Mills, and it's this company which has put up the fence - on their own land.

The Collins' front garden had fallen into a state of disrepair. In addition, the front wall had been partially demolished when a car in the car park accidentally crashed through it, so the couple took advantage of the gap it created in order to park their car on the front lawn. In order to do so, they were driving through the car park.

The company wrote to the couple on August 15 and said that the state of the couple's garden was knocking value of the flats. They added that unless the couple tidied up their garden and mended their garden wall, they would build the fence. They also offered to mend the wall themselves - as long as the couple handed over ownership of it to the company. However, the couple were not convinced, and could not see how their neighbour could force them to do anything at all to their own property.

They now face the prospect of learning to live with the fence, finding a way to open negotiations with the neighbours, or seeking a solution in the courts.
Bizarre neighbour rows

It's a particularly odd result of a neighbour dispute. However, it has plenty of competition in a title fight for the oddest.

In February this year a couple were made to pay an estimated £600,000 - including damages and court costs - after they harassed their neighbour in an effort to add a 12 inch strip to their garden.

They were trying to get her to stop exercising her right of way across the bottom of their garden. Among the strangest things the couple did was to write to social services falsely claiming that their neighbour had attacked them and ought to be sectioned under the Mental Health Act. The judge described their actions as 'troubling and sinister'.

In 2012 there was the case of a man in Poole who was found guilty of having trespassed into his neighbour's garden and chopped down a tree while he was away. Apparently the tree was blocking a view from the hot-tub. The court made him pay £50,000 to cover the increase in value of his own property from removing the tree and a fine of £75,000.

In 2009 in Sale in Greater Manchester, two neighbours got into a dispute after both families extended their properties and one put up a new fence. While they were on holiday their neighbours took the fence down, and the case went to court. One family spent so much on the case and a subsequent appeal that they were forced to sell up to pay their legal bills.

And finally, in 2002 we saw perhaps the most extreme case of all. Two families were at loggerheads over a hedge between the properties, and they eventually turned to the courts. As a result, one couple received a court order which said they were not allowed to trim their neighbour's hedge, or allow their dogs onto their neighbour's property. They defied the order, trimmed the hedge, and were subsequently jailed for 28 days. This couple were particularly driven in their trimming efforts, however, and they showed up in court the following year after having done it again. The judge decided not to jail them a second time.

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