Do you have nightmare neighbours?

Noise from the neighbours above

If you're lucky, you have the sort of neighbours who will take in your packages, lend you their lawnmower and keep an eye on your home while you're away.

Plenty of people, though, are a lot less fortunate. In fact, one in five say they've been involved in a dispute with their neighbours in the last year alone.

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Noise is the most frequent problem, whether it's barking dogs, late night parties or loud arguments.

Just last week, for example, the Liverpool neighbours of Stephanie Davis and Jeremy McConnell lost patience with the pair for continual screaming matches, and started complaining to Stephanie's parents.

For many people, the problem is parking. In what surely must be the most extreme example, residents of a cul-de-sac in Stockport, Greater Manchester, have been fighting for over 30 years over the limited number of spaces.

The situation's got so bad that their double-parking can be seen by Google Earth from space.

And for others, it's garden disputes that drive them crazy, from smelly barbecues to the dreaded Leylandii hedge.

If you're struggling with nightmare neighbours, says Citizen's Advice, it's definitely your best bet to try and resolve things amicably with a friendly word.

If this doesn't help, and they are renting the property, you can approach their landlord with your complaint.

If all else fails, you can call your local environmental health department or planning department - or even the police, especially if there's racial or sexual harassment involved.

You can, of course, go through the courts - but beware, as this can be a very long and costly route. In one case earlier this year, for example, it was revealed that a Northumberland solicitor had got so angry about a shed that he believed was blocking his right of way that he racked up legal bills of £140,000 trying to get it removed.

To read more stories about neighbours from hell take a look at the slideshow below.

Neighbours from hell
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Neighbours from hell

John Bushell, of Hebben, South Tyneside, likes things neat and tidy, and decided that neighbours Kenneth and Marjorie Mills were letting the street down. The 89-year-old tipped rubbish into nearby gardens, arranged guttering to pour water into his neighbour's garden and finally threatened arson - even a jail term didn't put him off. Read the full story here.

Mark Webb told police that innocent neighbour Frances Avis had damaged his car and threatened to burn down his house. He even faked letters in which Frances apparently admitted it - leading other neighbours to call her  a 'psycho house burner'. Webb was finally convicted of perverting the course of justice. Read the full story here.

A bit of curtain-twitching is one thing, but Nahid and Sohail Akram went quite a lot further. They put up CCTV cameras covering the front of the property - and also their neighbours' private garden. They even installed audio equipment right under the Wool'eys' windows - 'intrusive, excessive and unjustified', said the sheriff.
Read the full story here.

Retired banker Peter Bayliss resented the fact that neighbour Sandra Saxton had a right of way over his garden, and tried to block her gate. He and his wife, Kim, falsely reported Sandra for assault, and even tried to get her  sectioned under the Mental Health Act. The judge said their actions were 'troubling and sinister' and ordered them to pay more than £300,000. Read the full story here.

Julie Rankine had been rowing with her neighbour Caroline Moore for ten years in smart Sutton Coldfield before Caroline was advised by police to film her - but didn't take the filming kindly. She hit her neighbour with a walking stick before threatening her with an axe. Read the full story here.

Partially deaf Michael O'Rourke blasted out Country and Western music day and night, so loud that his neighbours could hear it at the other end of the street. When he continued to  wake his neighbours in the middle of the night, he was jailed for four months. Read the full story here.

Wendy and Paul Collins were forced to use a step ladder to get out of their front garden after a neighbour put up a six-foot fence alongside their property. Their car was stuck inside too. They've been told that it's not illegal, and say they feel 'like we are behind some kind of Berlin Wall'. Read the full story here.

These conifers can grow up to three feet a year - and since Valerie Vivian planted them in 2001, they've shot up to 50 feet, blocking out her neighbours' view of Solsbury Hill. But because they aren't blocking the light from other houses, and don't cause access problems, there's nothing the neighbours can do. Read the full story here.

Roy Harrison liked to collect old fridges, washing machines, and electrical goods and repair them when he could. Unfortulately, his neighbours weren't so keen. His back-yard junk-yard eventually grew so big, it could be seen by Google Earth from space. Read the full story here.

Convicted conman Achilleas Kallakis wanted a massive basement extension with swimming pool, spa, cinema and car lift. Unfortunately, the house was seized before the work was finished and sold onto a Dubai-based businessman - who still wasn't able to continue. His Kensington neighbours have looked out on a 30-foot hole for eight years, and have been told it could be like that for years to come. Read the full story here.


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