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Biologist hacked down hydrangeas over path

A biologist who hacked down a neighbour's hydrangeas and fence to clear what he said was a traditional footpath to a Lakeland pond has been convicted of harassment.

Geoffrey Fryer, from Windermere, pleaded not guilty to the charge but after a four-hour hearing South Lakeland magistrates decided that his behaviour between 30 January 30 and 17 February this year was unreasonable.

He was given a conditional order of discharge and told to pay £150 costs.

Fryer told the court that the footpath had existed since Victorian times but the fence had been moved to the wrong place about 10 years ago, before his neighbour moved in, stopping walkers from reaching King's Pond.

He said he had merely acted "to restore to the public that which is rightfully theirs".