Essex Police have been ordered to pay £4,000 in compensation to a retired lawyer who was wrongly arrested.

Geoffrey Silkstone became involved in a boundary dispute with his former neighbour on the Essex/Suffolk border and got an injunction against him.

However, at 6.15am one day he was arrested on suspicion of harassment and was questioned for six hours at a police station.

When he returned to answer his bail two months later, he was interviewed for a further six hours.

The matter was referred to the Crown Prosecution Service, which determined there was no criminal case to answer.

It also advised the dispute was a matter for the civil courts.

Mr Silkstone, 68, was not told of the decision for another six weeks.

Now he has won almost £4,000 in compensation and damages from Essex Police after taking legal action against the Chief Constable for unlawful arrest and false imprisonment.

Essex Police were also ordered to pay his costs, which totalled more than £43,000, as well as picking up the bill for their legal fees.

Mr Silkstone said the damages award had been made because of the public nature of his arrest and that he was denied washing facilities at the police station.

He was also given special damages of £31.80.

Mr Silkstone, who now lives in Stanway, said at the end of the judgment, the police’s barrister asked for the case to be referred to appeal on a point of law – a bid rejected by the judge.

Mr Silkstone said: “It was absolutely amazing.

“After spending almost £100,000 of taxpayers’ money on this, they are seemingly prepared to waste even more money on this matter.

“At no point in the two years did the police try to settle this.”

“The £4,000 means nothing to me. I took them on because I felt I had been really badly treated.

“Sometimes you have to stand up and say ‘This is what I believe in’.”

A spokeswoman for the force said: “Essex Police are disappointed at the judgment, but will review the judge’s comments to see whether any lessons can be learned.”