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"Private Land - Keep Out"


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I'm looking for clarification on the law regarding Signs on a private fence.

 

I recently nailed a proprietary "Private Land Keep Out" sign to a private garden fence after neighbours were filmed trespassing.

 

The said neighbours quickly removed the sign and kept it, despite a letter asking for its return.

 

When the police eventually confronted the neighbour three days later she admitted taking the sign off the fence (which involved prising it off with an edged tool) and returned it.

 

The police have said no offence has been committed by her removing the sign "because she did not want to look at it"

 

What's more, they have even suggested that to put the sign back up on the fence (which is NOT a shared boundary but is wholly private) may constitute an aggressive act!!!

 

I cannot believe this is correct in law.

 

They have suggested to me that to put the sign back up would need a solicitor to pursue civil action, not that for her to have the sign taken down would need the same!

 

Before making a complaint about the police officers' handling of this matter, I would like clarification, if possible.

 

The whole thing sounds preposterous - that you can remove a sign you don't like from someone else's property and the property owner can potentially face prosecution for replacing it!

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The police are talking rubbish.

 

If it's on your land then I don't see any thing wrong with putting it back as long as the words used are not offensive.

 

In particular, you are putting up the sign because they have already been filled trespassing.

 

On the other hand, I wouldn't have thought that this is the best way to go about it. How about some dialogue with your neighbour to find out why they needed to go onto your land.

 

Have you any ideas about it? What did they do when they came onto your land?

 

The removal of the sign is potentially an offence of criminal damage that that seems a fairly extreme procedure to take.

 

I'm afraid that the police don't prioritise this kind of thing and they prefer always to say this is a civil matter. It's rubbish.

 

On the other hand, proportional response is always best.

 

You don't need a solicitor to take action against them. If you wanted to sue them in trespass and that will be the way to go.

 

I would suggest that you open some face-to-face dialogue and then follow it up with the letter. If that doesn't deal with the problem then you might want to send them a letter telling them that you are disappointed and that you won't accept that this continues.

 

I'd suggest that you keep your letters informal rather than some strutting quasi legal missive which would normally be written by some pompous solicitor.

 

Keep it relaxed and informal until the point where you are obliged to go formal. At that point, do it with the court papers

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Thank you for your reply. Very much appreciated.

 

The problem with these people is they are continually pushing boundaries (literally) and trying to grab land which isn't theirs.

 

Believe me, friendly dialogue was our first response,

but what they have proven repeatedly is that they will say whatever sounds agreeable,

whilst lying outright to your face,

then do the complete opposite of whatever was agreed.

 

I'm all for proportional response,

and I know it can appear unreasonable or petty to make a big deal out of every small,

seemingly insignificant offence,

 

the problem with this is that all these small seemingly insignificant offences all start to add up over time until eventually,

almost imperceptibly,

they are claiming land as their own

and elderly residents are being driven from their homes (which is exactly what has happened here).

 

Whilst I understand that the police would have a hard time claiming in law that my putting up a sign was in any way 'aggressive' or 'confrontational',

if they are happy to allow the same sign to be removed each time then they are in effect encouraging this incremental encroachment.

 

The next step will be that the neighbours will be claiming the fence is a shared boundary...

then they'll remove it,

knowing that by that stage legal proceedings would be expensive and complicated...

and so it continues.

 

Paranoid?

Not at all...

this is exactly what has happened and continues to happen with adjacent boundaries.

 

Planning applications are applied for retrospectively in the knowledge that they are almost always allowed to remain and the Council have been lied to in order to get planning applications passed.

 

If the police are now refusing to act against criminal offences as well,

then it leaves you feeling there is little protection for the average householder against anyone wishing to ride roughshod over their legal rights.

 

Perhaps the most ludicrous aspect of all this is that despite the neighbours refusing to return the sign even after a written request,

when the police eventually recovered it they claimed there had been 'no offence' because she had handed the sign over!

 

This is like the police going to the home of a suspected bike thief,

asking 'Did you take that bike',

the thief replying

'Yes... here, take it back' and the police saying there was therefore no theft!

 

My apologies if this sounds like a rant, but I'm incredibly frustrated about this and a little bit furious :mad2:

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you've got them on film trespassing? as bank asked, what is the nature of their trespass?

if so, just sue them.

though, that might 'aggravate' things re being neighbourly. excuse the pun :)

no worries re the rant, rant away.

as has been said, the police dont give a hoot re these things.

what was the nature of the sign. one option cld be to try a more 'friendly' private appearing sign. if thats still removed. sue.?

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CIVIL MATTER: the favourite police punchline.

Stealing a sign, on public or private land is an offence and returning it after being caught doesn't cancel the offence committed.

As okokok pointed out, if that was the case, all bike and car thieves would never be arrested.

 

I don't think there's a "value threshold" in the theft act, so stealing a lolly pop or a car is still theft.

Put up a fence along the perimeter of your land.

Barbed wire works wonders, but you need a sign to warn the burglars.

Remember, you have to look after your burglars...

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Perhaps the most ludicrous aspect of all this is that despite the neighbours refusing to return the sign even after a written request, when the police eventually recovered it they claimed there had been 'no offence' because she had handed the sign over! This is like the police going to the home of a suspected bike thief, asking 'Did you take that bike', the thief replying 'Yes... here, take it back' and the police saying there was therefore no theft!

 

Stealing a sign, on public or private land is an offence and returning it after being caught doesn't cancel the offence committed.

As okokok pointed out, if that was the case, all bike and car thieves would never be arrested.

 

Yes and No.

Returning an item once caught doesn't mean it wasn't theft at the outset, but the intent at the time of taking does matter.

Not "intending to permanently deprive" at the outset means it was never theft in the first place, and this was precisely the case for vehicles, where the person taking the car said "ahh, but I was 'joyriding' and was going to give it back after!"

 

That would have effectively prevented a prosecution for theft, and was the rationale for creating the offence of "taking without consent" for motor vehicles ...... they couldn't get the offenders for theft, but can get them for TWOC, regardless of if they say "I never intended to permanently deprive".

 

So, "bike and car thieves" isn't exactly the best example ......

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Very true.

 

So walking out from Tesco with a tv, being caught in the car park and giving the tv back doesn't amount to theft if the taker says: "I was gonna watch EastEnders and give it back".

 

I understand the loopholes, but having denied taking the sign in the first place suggests that the neighbour wanted to keep it.

 

Of course the police will try all avenues to avoid doing paperwork and you can't blame them; for a clean cut simple offence the probably spend an entire day in the office filling useless forms.

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I know it doesn't work like that, it was a rhetorical statement.

My point is that the neighbour took the sign and they denied having taken it.

 

That gives an indication that they intended to keep it, satisfying the conditions of the theft act.

But the police don't want to do any paperwork, so they said to give it back and forget about it.

Only at this point the neighbour admitted having taken the sign.

 

I don't understand how this same scenario is different in law if you change the characters (op becomes Tesco, neighbour becomes a shopper and the sign becomes a tv).

 

It's the same concept and the neighbour should have been prosecuted (in an ideal world).

What the police did has just made the neighbour more confident that they can carry on with their harassment campaign without consequences and this can lead to more serious crimes as we hear on the news everyday.

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IMO I'd put the sign back up regardless.

 

Where is this footage of them trespassing??

 

Have you spoken to your LA and local councillors regarding the neighbours behaviour?

 

Get some cheap signs, and each time they take them down, replace it, report them to the police each time they steal a sign.

 

Keep a log of their antics for evidence.

 

Are these private homes or rented property?

Who ever heard of someone getting a job at the Jobcentre? The unemployed are sent there as penance for their sins, not to help them find work!

 

 

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I know it doesn't work like that, it was a rhetorical statement.

 

I don't understand how this same scenario is different in law if you change the characters (op becomes Tesco, neighbour becomes a shopper and the sign becomes a tv).

.

maybe then its not so rhetorical if yr statement needs an answer 'in law' to help understand. :)

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