AN eight year row between neighbours reached breaking point when a woman reached over a garden fence to hack at a retired firefighter’s shrub with a pair of shears.

Ian Walton, 54, says he feels like a cloud hangs over him whenever he leaves his house.

He claims he has been embroiled in a long running row with neighbour Maxine Johnson since a parking dispute turned sour shortly after he moved into his home in Clacton almost ten years ago.

When he first arrived, Mr Walton described his relationship with Ms Johnson as friendly.

But following a dispute over parking, police were called out repeatedly to deal with allegations including criminal damage to a fence.

Mr Walton said: “She used to wait until I took my daughter to cadets and she would take her car off the drive.

“It’s only me and next door who haven’t got driveways in our gardens and it’s impossible to park round here.

“I’ve got no legal claim to the road, I know that, but when you take your car off the driveway, put it outside my house and there’s absolutely nowhere else to park and you leave it there for two weeks solid that’s purely designed to annoy me.

“That was the only time I parked on her drive. She came out screaming and shouting so I phoned the police. They said I had no right and had to move it so I did do.”

When Mr Walton returned from a recent holiday, he found his garden shrub “hacked to pieces”.

Checking his cameras, he watched as Ms Johnson leaned over the fence to chop at the plant with a set of shears.

Mr Walton said: “I went out to cut the grass and saw big clumps of my bush on the lawn.

“I instantly knew it was her based on her continuous bad behaviour over the past eight years so I checked the cameras.

“When I saw the footage, initially I was a little angry, but that quickly turned to amusement and bemusement.”

The father-of-five moved to Clacton from Cornwall following a divorce, with his two daughters, who are now 18 and 21.

He said he had a “brief fling” with Ms Johnson, but soon ended it.

He called the attack on the shrub the “final straw” in a long list of disputes and incidents.

“It’s like a cloud hanging over you as soon as you walk out the front door, she is always watching me,” he said.

“The bush cutting saga just brought it all to a head.

“I didn’t even bother reporting it to the police as I felt they wouldn’t waste time with it.

“Before I had gone away I had been nice to her again, so this latest act was just the last straw.

“She has had all the chances I am prepared to give her.”

The Gazette attempted to contact Ms Johnson for comment, but she had not responded at the time of going to press.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, she said Mr Walton was upset because she had “spurned his advances”.

She added she cut the bush as its flowers were damaging the paintwork of her car.