A COUPLE attacked their next door neighbours with iron bars and a machete.

Nicola Lawson and Ed Plowman began arguing with their neighbours after noticing their car had been scratched.

But the dispute escalated when Plowman returned to the house, in Wellhouse Avenue, in West Mersea, and came back with a machete and an iron bar and attacked the two victims.

Both victims, a man and his partner, sustained injuries.

Plowman and Lawson, both 36, each denied one count of affray but a jury found the pair guilty after a trial which was heard at Chelmsford Crown Court.

A youth, aged 16, was also convicted of affray while a 14-year-old was found to have “done the act”.

The four are due to be sentenced next month.

The attack, which was part of a series of abusive incidents, took place shortly before 8am on September 26 last year.

In October last year, the family - who were Colne Housing tenants - were evicted from their home after a district judge backed the housing associations’s closure order application.

During that three-hour hearing Lawson was questioned by District Judge John Woollard on why she had on-going disputes with so many neighbours.

Lawson claimed she was “being victimised” but was not able to offer any further explanation.

But District Judge Woollard said he “did not believe a word” Lawson had said and granted a three-month closure order on the home.

Mr Woollard said: “One of the consistent features of this case is that she [Lawson] considers herself a victim of all sorts of anti-social behaviour by people who live around her but she can give me no explanation for that.

“I am satisfied the behaviour of the Lawson household was severely out of control.

“I have heard some quite ridiculous nonsense from Lawson, including allegations of drug dealing and I don’t believe a word of it.

“I am satisfied there is little to be done to bring peace to this community other than to make sure there is no-one living at that address who is likely to cause anti-social behaviour.”

Despite the order being granted, the family almost immediately appealed it and were legally entitled to return to the house a month later.

Neighbours have told the Gazette Colne Housing is preparing a new case against Lawson, as the lead tenant although it is unclear on what grounds the case will be mounted.

Lawson, Plowman and the two youngsters are due to return to Chelmsford Crown Court for sentencing in the new year.