Ramblers warned off land by millionaire Sussex property

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A PROPERTY millionaire who describes ramblers as "scumbags", has become embroiled in a dispute over a public right of way which crosses his land.

Nicholas van Hoogstraten, who is building a pounds 30m "Renaissance palace" on his estate near Uckfield in East Sussex has angered walkers by blocking a footpath with locked gates, barbed wire and a barn.

Even though the right of way is marked on the map, the businessman says has no intention of opening it to the public. He said ramblers who went on his land without permission would be "viciously dealt with".

Although the council agrees Mr van Hoogstraten has acted illegally, it has not taken steps towards opening it to the public.

Mr van Hoogstraten once served four years in jail after a hand-grenade attack on an associate. The judge described him as an "emissary of Beelzebub".