How playing Ed Sheeran can land you in jail

Complaining about noisy neighbours

Cape Verdean woman listening to vinyl record

A woman has been jailed for the second time for torturing her neighbours by playing an Ed Sheeran song on repeat.

Sonia Bryce, a mother of three from Wallsall, played the ballad 'Shape of You', at top volume for half an hour. It was, says neighbour Clare Tidmarsh, 'the straw that broke the camel's back'.

Months of loud music, shouting, swearing and banging had already put Bryce in jail once - but after her six-week sentence the noise started up again. Miss Tidmarsh says in the end she was forced to move out and rent out her home.

Wealthy neighbour from hell gets her comeuppance

Jailing Bryce for eight weeks, Judge Gregory commented: "Everybody is entitled to live in a degree of peace and quiet with the usual give and take of society, but you do not behave like a civilised person, and you have got to learn that you will."

So what does and does not count as unreasonable noise?

Music becomes a statutory nuisance if it will 'unreasonably and substantially interfere with the use or enjoyment of a home or other premises' or 'injure health or be likely to injure health'.

Why has local postie refused to deliver to this cul-de-sac?

At night - from 11pm to 7am - the council can issue warning notices if the noise inside a neighbour's house is higher than a certain decibel level, relating to the normal level of background noise. If it continues, there's a £110 fine.

Last year, research from law firm Slater and Gordon revealed that a third of homeowners are regularly annoyed by noise from their neighbours, with lawn mowing, TV and loud music the commonest problems.

You can report a noise nuisance to your local council through a government website, here.

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However, allegations of unreasonable noise don't always go the complainant's way.

This week, a court heard how a millionaire couple had falsely accused a neighbour of death threats because he was singing the Jimi Hendrix song Hey Joe - containing the line: "I'm goin' down to shoot my old lady."

Acupuncture therapist Terry Simou spent seven hours locked up at a police station before being released after only ten minutes of questioning - when he explained that he sang in a pub band.

The accusation was just part of a ten-year campaign that led to the conviction of Michael and Hazell Salliss for harassment. And although they're challenging that at a court of appeal, they're believed to be facing a £500,000 legal bill.

Nightmare neighbours

Nightmare neighbours