“I feel victimised” - man fined thousands of pounds over ‘noisy’ home hits out at council (From Bournemouth Echo)
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“I feel victimised” - man fined thousands of pounds over ‘noisy’ home hits out at council
A SOUTHBOURNE man fined thousands of pounds after four days of anti-social noise said he may leave the country as a result of his prosecution.
Michael Roberts faced court action after complaints about the noise coming from his Southwood Avenue property.
He had used the house as a private holiday let, allowing stag and hen parties as well as families to stay there.
But in July last summer, after he went away for two weeks to see his children, Bournemouth Borough Council officials visited the property to issue a noise abatement notice.
Mr Roberts claims the notice was not served to anybody but posted through the letterbox and before he had returned to Bournemouth, council officers went into the property to take three televisions and a rug.
He said: “The law says that a notice must be served to the homeowner, the person responsible for the house, or the leader of the people making a noise.
“Instead, the council posted it through the door. The man I had left in charge while I was away called me later on to say I had been burgled – but when I called the police, I was given a number for the council and eventually was told they had been in to take the items because they’re categorised as ‘noise offending equipment’ – including the rug.”
He later discovered that all of the incidents related to events during daylight hours on July 9, 10, 12 and 19.
“Being a good neighbour is incredibly important to me,” he said.
“I have lived here since 1995 and I like this area and the people living here. Before all of this, I had received one letter about noise, and had taken that extremely seriously. I had ensured the electricity to the garden area was cut off at 10pm and I put noise warning notices around the house.
“It was a great shock to find out that there was apparently a problem as I just wasn’t aware of it.”
He immediately cancelled all bookings for the property and refunded deposits, a move that cost him more than £7,000.
“I feel absolutely victimised,” he said. “The council are meant to be public servants, but I feel they have too much power. I am really thinking about selling my house and moving to a different country because this has taken away my livelihood.”
Mr Roberts pleaded not guilty to four charges relating to the breach of a Noise Abatement Notice at Bournemouth Magistrates’ Court, but after a two-day trial was found guilty and ordered to pay fines and costs totalling £3,050.
The court heard that there had been problems with loud music, shouting, screaming and anti-social behaviour.
Councillor David Smith, the council’s portfolio holder for planning and environment, said: “Our officers will always support local people whose lives are blighted by noise, drunkenness and thoughtless behaviour.
“It’s regrettable Mr Roberts couldn’t get to grips with the problem that he had created for his neighbours, and I’m baffled that the court allowed him to have the seized equipment back.
“We’ve got a great night-time service and good officers who were able to witness the problem and take prompt action to stop this frankly selfish behaviour.”
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