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A ‘rumbunctious’ pensioner who was caught on CCTV digging up his neighbours’ flower bed and relocating their bins under the cloak of night as part of a years-long border battle has been fined £1,700. 

John Weiniger, 72, was found guilty of criminal damage and harassment following his campaign to reclaim a sliver of land which separates his property from the home of respected surgeons James and Samantha Miller, in the sleepy Oxfordshire village of Mollington. 

A two-day trial at Oxford Magistrate’s Court heard how Weiniger dug up the disputed turf and tossed the soil onto the Millers’ property – before wheeling their rubbish bins down the road and placing his own containers on the contested patch. 

Weiniger complained in court that the fence the land was attached to – which was actually erected by previous owners – had ‘stolen two to three inches’ of his driveway, preventing him from taking his African Grey parrot out on trips, because he could no longer fit him into his car. 

But Land Registry documents shown at court proved the fence was within the Millers’ property boundary. The young family said they called in police after becoming concerned over what Weiniger would do next, saying in a victim impact statement that his actions were part of an ‘escalating situation’ which caused them a ‘lot of stress and sleepless nights’. 

The saga began soon after the Millers, who have a baby together, moved into their £950,000 property and decided to get some building work done to the front of the home. 

John Weiniger (pictured), 72, was found guilty of criminal damage and harassment following his campaign to reclaim the sliver of land which separates his property from the home of respected surgeons James and Samantha Miller, in the sleepy Oxfordshire village of Mollington

John Weiniger (pictured), 72, was found guilty of criminal damage and harassment following his campaign to reclaim the sliver of land which separates his property from the home of respected surgeons James and Samantha Miller, in the sleepy Oxfordshire village of Mollington

John Weiniger (pictured), 72, was found guilty of criminal damage and harassment following his campaign to reclaim the sliver of land which separates his property from the home of respected surgeons James and Samantha Miller, in the sleepy Oxfordshire village of Mollington

A two-day trial at Oxford Magistrate's Court heard how Weiniger dug up the disputed turf and tossed the soil onto the Millers' property - before wheeling their rubbish bins down the road to other houses and placing his own containers on the contested patch (Pictured: James and Samantha Miller with their baby leaving Oxford Magistrate's Court)

A two-day trial at Oxford Magistrate's Court heard how Weiniger dug up the disputed turf and tossed the soil onto the Millers' property - before wheeling their rubbish bins down the road to other houses and placing his own containers on the contested patch (Pictured: James and Samantha Miller with their baby leaving Oxford Magistrate's Court)

A two-day trial at Oxford Magistrate’s Court heard how Weiniger dug up the disputed turf and tossed the soil onto the Millers’ property – before wheeling their rubbish bins down the road to other houses and placing his own containers on the contested patch (Pictured: James and Samantha Miller with their baby leaving Oxford Magistrate’s Court)

Weiniger complained in court that the fence the land was attached to - which was actually erected by previous owners - had 'stolen two to three inches' of his driveway, preventing him from taking his African Grey parrot out on trips, because he could no longer fit him into his car. (Pictured: Disputed flowerbed is to the right of the brown wheelie bin and attached to the post of the gate accessing the Millers' garage)

Weiniger complained in court that the fence the land was attached to - which was actually erected by previous owners - had 'stolen two to three inches' of his driveway, preventing him from taking his African Grey parrot out on trips, because he could no longer fit him into his car. (Pictured: Disputed flowerbed is to the right of the brown wheelie bin and attached to the post of the gate accessing the Millers' garage)

Weiniger complained in court that the fence the land was attached to – which was actually erected by previous owners – had ‘stolen two to three inches’ of his driveway, preventing him from taking his African Grey parrot out on trips, because he could no longer fit him into his car. (Pictured: Disputed flowerbed is to the right of the brown wheelie bin and attached to the post of the gate accessing the Millers’ garage)

Weiniger (pictured left above his property) denied the charges but was found guilty of seven of the offences and was ordered to pay a total of almost £3,000 in fines and costs. He was also given a restraining order not to approach Mr and Mrs Miller or their home (pictured right) for five years. He was also forbidden from going onto the Miller's property or moving anything in the flowerbed which had been at the centre of the dispute (pictured centre)

Weiniger (pictured left above his property) denied the charges but was found guilty of seven of the offences and was ordered to pay a total of almost £3,000 in fines and costs. He was also given a restraining order not to approach Mr and Mrs Miller or their home (pictured right) for five years. He was also forbidden from going onto the Miller's property or moving anything in the flowerbed which had been at the centre of the dispute (pictured centre)

Weiniger (pictured left above his property) denied the charges but was found guilty of seven of the offences and was ordered to pay a total of almost £3,000 in fines and costs. He was also given a restraining order not to approach Mr and Mrs Miller or their home (pictured right) for five years. He was also forbidden from going onto the Miller’s property or moving anything in the flowerbed which had been at the centre of the dispute (pictured centre)

On July 12, 2020, Weiniger became enraged at the works and ‘threatened everyone there with jail’, the court heard. It was then that he staked his claim to the strip of land which separated their homes.

Just two days later, the Millers began noticing soil and hyacinths they were growing had been dug up and dumped within their property. 

Suspecting Weiniger’s involvement, they decided to install CCTV cameras, which showed him repeatedly sneaking out in the early hours of the morning to wreak havoc.

Eventually – and in desperation – the Millers contacted the police and their neighbour was arrested and charged with numerous counts of causing criminal damage and one charge of harassment.

Weiniger denied the charges but was found guilty of seven of the offences and was ordered to pay a total of almost £3,000 in fines and costs. He was also given a restraining order not to approach Mr and Mrs Miller or their home for five years.

Presiding magistrate James MacNamara warned Weiniger: ‘If you see them you must turn around and walk away, it is your responsibility not theirs.’

He was also forbidden from going onto the Miller’s property or moving anything in the flowerbed which had been at the centre of the dispute. 

Mr MacNamara warned Weiniger that if he breached the restraining order, he could go to jail. 

Recalling to the court how the feud began, prosecutor Paul Roach said: ‘Building work happened in a different part of the (Miller) property. Weiniger made an accusation of criminal damage and threatened everyone there with jail.

‘On July 14 2020 a flowerbed was dug over and the turf and soil were thrown over a wall onto the Miller’s property. 

‘Over the next six months – from July 17 – there were a further nine instances that were caught on CCTV.’

During the trial, a rambling Weiniger (pictured) said the dispute had actually started nearly 15 years earlier when the previous owners of the Miller house had moved a boundary fence around two inches onto what he claims was his land. The court heard the dispute had then moved on to a flowerbed at the front of the properties, which Weiniger claimed he owned despite it being on the Miller's side of the driveway and attached to the wall of their house

During the trial, a rambling Weiniger (pictured) said the dispute had actually started nearly 15 years earlier when the previous owners of the Miller house had moved a boundary fence around two inches onto what he claims was his land. The court heard the dispute had then moved on to a flowerbed at the front of the properties, which Weiniger claimed he owned despite it being on the Miller's side of the driveway and attached to the wall of their house

During the trial, a rambling Weiniger (pictured) said the dispute had actually started nearly 15 years earlier when the previous owners of the Miller house had moved a boundary fence around two inches onto what he claims was his land. The court heard the dispute had then moved on to a flowerbed at the front of the properties, which Weiniger claimed he owned despite it being on the Miller’s side of the driveway and attached to the wall of their house

Defence barrister Danae Larham told the court that Weiniger had merely been defending his own property (pictured left) that he had owned before the previous owner moved a fence near the Millers' garage

Defence barrister Danae Larham told the court that Weiniger had merely been defending his own property (pictured left) that he had owned before the previous owner moved a fence near the Millers' garage

Defence barrister Danae Larham told the court that Weiniger had merely been defending his own property (pictured left) that he had owned before the previous owner moved a fence near the Millers’ garage

Magistrates Mr MacNamara, Amanda Prior and Jaqueline Mitchell heard that the dispute had centred around a flowerbed on the Miller’s side of the drive that the pair of houses shared.

During the trial, a rambling Weiniger said the dispute had actually started nearly 15 years earlier when the previous owners of the Miller house had moved a boundary fence around two inches onto what he claims was his land. 

The court heard the dispute had then moved on to a flowerbed at the front of the properties, which Weiniger claimed he owned despite it being on the Miller’s side of the driveway and attached to the wall of their house.

Mr Roach told the court: ‘On July 17 2020, Weinger was seen removing decorative edging stones from the flower bed and they were later found in a nearby alleyway.

‘On July 18, Weiniger was seen digging a hole in the flowerbed and removing the turf. This was later located in bushes in the front of the Miller’s property.’

The prosecutor told the court that the Millers had become so alarmed by Weiniger’s actions, which all took place in darkness of the early hours of the morning, that they installed CCTV on their house.

The court heard how the cameras captured Weiniger coming out of his house in the early hours and moving their bins down the road before placing his own bins on the flower bed.

During the hearing, Weiniger, who uses crutches to get around, sat in the court wearing a green Barbour jacket as he listened to the prosecutor outline the case against him.

Mr Roach said that Weiniger had launched a tit-for-tat campaign against the Miller’s, including photographing Mrs Miller while she was gardening on her property.

Defence barrister Danae Larham told the court that Weiniger had merely been defending his own property that he had owned before the previous owner moved a fence near the Millers’ garage.

Weiniger then protested to the court that he was the ‘best neighbour in the world’ and that all of his actions had been to try to prevent the Millers seizing his land, despite the flower bed showing as belonging to the Millers on Land Registry documents.

At that point, Weiniger fired back from the witness box: ‘The Land Registry is wrong.’

After Weiniger was convicted, Mr Miller (pictured with Mrs Miller and their baby) told the court in a statement: 'I am aware that these incidents are not the most serious issue but it is part of an escalating situation that my family has been dealing with for a long time. This has caused a lot of stress and sleepless nights and it has cost us a lot of money, both in solicitors fees and in putting right what Weiniger has done.'

After Weiniger was convicted, Mr Miller (pictured with Mrs Miller and their baby) told the court in a statement: 'I am aware that these incidents are not the most serious issue but it is part of an escalating situation that my family has been dealing with for a long time. This has caused a lot of stress and sleepless nights and it has cost us a lot of money, both in solicitors fees and in putting right what Weiniger has done.'

After Weiniger was convicted, Mr Miller (pictured with Mrs Miller and their baby) told the court in a statement: ‘I am aware that these incidents are not the most serious issue but it is part of an escalating situation that my family has been dealing with for a long time. This has caused a lot of stress and sleepless nights and it has cost us a lot of money, both in solicitors fees and in putting right what Weiniger has done.’

The saga began almost immediately after the Millers, who have a baby together, moved into their £950,000 property (pictured) and decided to get some building work done to the front of the home

The saga began almost immediately after the Millers, who have a baby together, moved into their £950,000 property (pictured) and decided to get some building work done to the front of the home

The saga began almost immediately after the Millers, who have a baby together, moved into their £950,000 property (pictured) and decided to get some building work done to the front of the home

The prosecutor told the court that the Millers had become so alarmed by Weiniger's actions, which all took place in darkness of the early hours of the morning, that they installed CCTV on their house (pictured right, while left, the home of Weiniger)

The prosecutor told the court that the Millers had become so alarmed by Weiniger's actions, which all took place in darkness of the early hours of the morning, that they installed CCTV on their house (pictured right, while left, the home of Weiniger)

The prosecutor told the court that the Millers had become so alarmed by Weiniger’s actions, which all took place in darkness of the early hours of the morning, that they installed CCTV on their house (pictured right, while left, the home of Weiniger)

While Weiniger confessed to being 'rumbunctious' at times, he accused the Millers and their family of responding in kind and said that they had been the ones harassing him. However, under pressure from Mr Roach, the long-haired pensioner admitted that he had covered the Miller's CCTV cameras 'for the hell of it' before digging up the flower bed (Pictured: The Millers' property)

While Weiniger confessed to being 'rumbunctious' at times, he accused the Millers and their family of responding in kind and said that they had been the ones harassing him. However, under pressure from Mr Roach, the long-haired pensioner admitted that he had covered the Miller's CCTV cameras 'for the hell of it' before digging up the flower bed (Pictured: The Millers' property)

While Weiniger confessed to being ‘rumbunctious’ at times, he accused the Millers and their family of responding in kind and said that they had been the ones harassing him. However, under pressure from Mr Roach, the long-haired pensioner admitted that he had covered the Miller’s CCTV cameras ‘for the hell of it’ before digging up the flower bed (Pictured: The Millers’ property) 

Explaining the root cause of the dispute, the pensioner said: ‘At some stage someone put up a fence two or three inches into our land. It is a couple of inches but its on a diagram so therefore they get the land.’

Weiniger, who described himself as ‘a rich man,’ told the court that the tiny movement of the fence had ruined access to the back of his house and had forced him to stop taking his African Grey parrot, named Captain, out on trips in his car because he could no longer get him into the vehicle.

He also told the court: ‘I did not touch any flowers from the flowerbed because it was pitch black. 

‘I dug up the flower bed at 3am because it was my land, so I would not expect to see plants on that land.

‘My spade may have strayed a little but that was unplanned and I doubt it happened.’

While Weiniger confessed to being ‘rumbunctious’ at times, he accused the Millers and their family of responding in kind and said that they had been the ones harassing him.

However, under pressure from Mr Roach, the long-haired pensioner admitted that he had covered the Miller’s CCTV cameras ‘for the hell of it’ before digging up the flower bed.

After a short deliberation, the panel of three magistrates convicted Weiniger of six counts of causing criminal damage as well as one charge of harassment.

As they read out the verdicts, Weiniger stared at the desk in front of him, before shaking his head.

After Weiniger was convicted, Mr Miller told the court in a statement: ‘I am aware that these incidents are not the most serious issue but it is part of an escalating situation that my family has been dealing with for a long time.

‘This has caused a lot of stress and sleepless nights and it has cost us a lot of money, both in solicitors fees and in putting right what Weiniger has done.’

Mrs Miller said in her victim impact statement: ‘I have been dealing with the issues caused by Weiniger for over two years now. 

‘The escalation in his behaviour over the past few months has caused me a great deal of worry about what will happen next.

‘I am home alone and I worry about what he might do with me and my baby. I am full of anxiety over what might happen and this affects my work and I cannot concentrate because I am worrying about what might be happening at home.

‘I feel that this has taken over our lives. It keeps me up at night and it is the first thing I think about in the morning.’

The pensioner, who had told the court that he had savings in excess of £100,000, was handed a fine of £1,700 for his offences as well as being ordered to pay £775 worth of prosecution costs.

He was also handed a restraining order forbidding him from contacting or talking to Mr or Mrs Miller for the next five years. He was ordered to pay them each £250 of compensation.

Source: Daily Mail

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