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Gran 'given police warning' for keeping footballs kicked into her garden by neighbour's kids

Mirror logo Mirror 14/04/2017

Credits: Hull Daily Mail © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Credits: Hull Daily Mail A gran says she was visited by police after keeping footballs kicked into her garden by her neighbour's kids. 

Penny Freeman, who spent thousands of pounds on her garden, was stunned when police arrived at her Bridlington home.

The 73-year-old says two officers warned her she could be accused of theft if she failed to return the balls from next door.

However, she claims the children hadn't come over to ask for their balls back, nor had they apologised, the Hull Daily Mail reports.

“It seems you don't need to ask for your balls back, you just call the police," she said. "Everyone I have told this to says, 'you are kidding'."

Ms Freeman shares a Victorian semi with her brother, James Fudge. She said they live next to a family with two young boys.

The children have a goal in the garden, but wayward balls apparently shoot over the 1.5m wall onto their neighbours' property.

Ms Freeman claimed footballs and Frisbees have been flying into her and her sibling's walled garden since they moved in five years ago.

After spending £3,000 creating the garden she said they are fed up of plants being smashed without anyone coming round to retrieve the balls or say sorry.

“The children don't say, 'please can I have my ball back, I am sorry'," said the pensioner.

“Last year, we thought we would keep the balls for a week and see if they would come and ask for them back. They never did.

“We had 10 balls in our shed. We only kept them for a week. We had no intention of destroying them. This year, we thought we would do the same thing but the police came round."

Credits: Hull Daily Mail © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Credits: Hull Daily Mail

Ms Freeman said two Humberside Police officers came to her home after her neighbours complained she had failed to return two balls kicked into her garden the previous day.

“The police came round and said we hear you are having trouble with footballs. I thought, 'Oh my God, this is not happening'," she said.

“They told me I was not allowed to keep the footballs and I had to return them. I said I had no intention of keeping the balls.

"I wanted the children to learn the consequences.

“This year we've had balls come over about 10 times."

Ms Freeman said the family had apparently sent the police round to get the balls back, which she deemed "beyond the pale".

“The police were very nice but I was left feeling should a ball land in the garden, I must rush out immediately and return it," she said.

Ms Freeman said she handed the balls back after being warned she could be charged with theft.

Credits: Hull Daily Mail © Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited Credits: Hull Daily Mail

“They said I would be guilty of theft if I kept the balls," she said.

“If I keep it am I going to have my collar felt and a caution applied? It's taking a sledgehammer to crack a walnut.

“I am very, very angry. We put so much work into this garden, we are both in our mid-70s. It's not as if we are bitter and twisted old so and sos.

“We like to get on with our neighbours. We are reasonable people and are parents ourselves."

Ms Freeman has now written to Humberside Police, saying: “Does this require such a huge waste of public resources and time to resolve?"

She said she has told police: “Perhaps I should call 999 every time a ball comes over and cite criminal damage!"

The next door neighbour, who did not want to be named, agreed balls have been flying into the garden since Ms Freeman and her brother moved in.

We have not got a very high wall separating the gardens. If a ball was kicked over they would put it in the shed and not give it back to us," she said.

"It has been going on since they moved in. We just want them to chuck the balls back over the wall.

“My children don't want to go once the ball has gone over, she claims we have smashed plants on a couple of occasions.

"I don't send them round anymore, she's a bit rude. I am scared of her, I am not sending my children."

© Hull Daily Mail

The mum insisted she has offered to pay for damage and said they are looking at putting a net up between the gardens to catch the balls kicked by her youngsters, aged 11 and six. 

“I know it can be a bit of a nuisance, I do understand, it's just one of those things. They are not little terrors or anything like that, they are just normal kids," she said.

A Humberside Police spokeswoman said "a Police Community Support Officer has visited both parties involved in a neighbour dispute" in the area.

"Words of advice have been offered to take steps to resolve the matter," said the spokeswoman.

"Our police community support officers are best placed to deal with and mediate in matters of this nature and are keen to offer practical advice and solutions to prevent situations escalating further."

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