Retired surgeon gets police warning for removing couple of twigs from neighbour’s tree obscuring safety mirror

February 22, 2016 | by | 0 Comments

A retired surgeon was given a warning by police after snipping three twigs from a neighbour’s hedge that were blocking his safety mirror.

David Tolhurs age 81 from Edwardstone Suffolk with his mirror in its new spot outside his house (SWNS Group)

David Tolhurs age 81 from Edwardstone Suffolk with his mirror in its new spot outside his house (SWNS Group)

David Tolhurst, 81, installed the curved mirror on a telephone pole outside his home in September 2014 after his late wife, Sonia, had her car written off in a crash.

But he was forced to remove it after claiming a neighbour informed Suffolk Highways for putting it up on public land.

Father-of-two David, who was a fellow of Harvard University and practiced at Great Ormond Street Hospital, said: “I was instructed by a Highways engineer to take down the mirror.

“I told them I was not going to take such nonsense because I was only concerned about safety.

“You see hundreds of mirrors around the county so I was surprised to be targeted. It seemed petty and ridiculous.

 

David Tolhurs age 81 from Edwardstone Suffolk in front of the hedge where the mirror was situated when he snipped a few twigs that were blocking his view (SWNS Group)

David Tolhurs age 81 from Edwardstone Suffolk in front of the hedge where the mirror was situated when he snipped a few twigs that were blocking his view (SWNS Group)

David, who was born in New Zealand, claims the nightmare neighbour, who lives opposite him issued a bogus complaint that the mirror was dazzling oncoming drivers.

He said: “It is utter nonsense. I had to go to hospital for 36 hours for treatment for my heart condition and when I returned the mirror was gone.

“I used to be a professor of surgery so I am not a moron.”

The grandfather, whose wife died from cancer four years ago, then put the mirror on the opposite side of the road in another neighbour’s hedge – with their permission.

He added: “The hedge grew up so I trimmed away three little twigs and some ivy.

“Two policemen in a very large van turned up to tell me off for ‘vandalising the property of a neighbour.’

“The hedge was shared by two neighbours and one had complained to police about me deforming their hedge.

“I told them I am not a vandal and they seemed awfully sorry but they reminded of the statutory requirements that I must not interfere with the property of other people.”

He has now put the mirror up in the garden of his own four-bedroom fifteenth century property.

David said : “This whole drama has been a complete waste of time and money.

“Now I have a ghastly-looking mirror in my property but I am in the business of safety not beauty.”

MASONS_TWIG_MIRROR_03David, from Edwardstone, Suffolk, lives on a blind corner that makes it difficult for him to drive out of his property safely.

The Volkswagen estate driver said: “If you exit my property my view of oncoming traffic is blocked by two big telegraph poles and the road can be rather busy.”

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said the original location of the mirror was classified as a “highway” and the mirror was classed as a “sign” that would need to be approved by the Department for Transport.

The spokesman added: “We received a complaint about the mirror which we are obligated to act upon.

“We asked Mr Tolhurst to remove the mirror and when he refused, we took it down.”

Early September 2014 – David first put the mirror up on a telephone pole outside his house.

Later that month – A Suffolk Highways engineer visited his house to tell David to move the mirror. It was removed by another engineer soon after.

December 2014 – David moved the mirror into a neighbour’s hedge on the opposite of the road, with their permission.

March 2015 – Police visited to warn Mr Tolhurst about interfering with the other people’s property after he trimmed away three twigs and some ivy blocking the mirror.

February 2016 – In frustration after ongoing discussions with neighbours, David finally put up the mirror in the garden of his own property.

David added: “The police must have better things to do.

“I was speaking to a retired policeman friend of mine who was furious at how I’ve been treated.

“We were joking that perhaps they thought I was a terrorist.”

Nicholas Tribe, 49, the neighbour who allowed Mr Tolhurst to put the mirror in his hedge, said: “David asked if he could stick his mirror in my hedge and being neighbourly I of course agreed.

“It seems mirror-gate has hit Sherbourne Street.

“We live on a tiny, rural lane and you occasionally get boy racers speeding through.

“The mirror could help to prevent a nasty accident so I can’t understand why anyone would have any issue with it.

“I’m deeply saddened to hear about the conflict between my neighbours.

“I thought we lived in a friendly community.”

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