A RETIRED quantity surveyor and his wife involved in a boundary dispute with a neighbour have admitted splashing out at him - with a hosepipe.

Magistrates at Llandudno heard the soaking of a retired ambulance service regional staff officer happened when he cleared up moss and other garden debris washed under his gate and returned it to his neighbours’ drive.

Barry Lee and Hellynne Lee, both 72, of Cae Fron, Denbigh, admitted common assault on Harold Burrows on June 4.

Prosecutor Julia Galston said Mrs Lee had sprayed him with the hosepipe and then her husband did the same, remarking: ”He likes getting wet, this little man.”

The drenching was captured on a GoPro video camera worn by Mr Burrows. Footage was shown to the court.

Mrs Galston said charity shop volunteer Mrs Jean Burrows had been called a “witch” by Mrs Lee and Mr Burrows branded a “moron.”

Mr Burrows has been a search team volunteer and holds an MBE. For nearly 20 years the Burrows’ had lived at Cae Fron but they had a number of difficulties with the Lees’.

The prosecutor said: ”The incident has had a huge effect on Mr and Mrs Burrows.”

They had CCTV cameras installed at their detached house on a neat private estate on the advice of the police. Mrs Burrows felt “on edge.”

The neighbours had tried police mediation. Mrs Galston said the Burrows’ just wanted to enjoy their property and garden in peace and quiet and to feel safe to look after their grandchildren.

Neither defendant had any previous convictions.

The magistrates imposed twelve-month conditional discharges and ordered the Lees to pay £170 costs each. Court chairman Robert Bradley said: “No compensation because we feel it would antagonise the situation. “

A two-year restraining order was made banning communication with their neighbours except through a third party.

Mr Bradley told the defendants: “We really don’t want to see anybody in this court again for something like this.“

Defence solicitor Robert Vickery had told the court: “You may wonder what on earth are we doing here in a criminal court dealing with that? The reason is, sadly, Mr and Mrs Lee and Mr and Mrs Burrows can’t live peacefully together and have had many, many years of aggravation between them.”

Mr Vickery said when the estate was built the developers hadn’t followed the plans. It created problems and house deeds didn’t show the same thing. “I think that’s the root cause of it, “said the solicitor.

The neighbours used to be friends.

“On this day Mr and Mrs Lee were doing what they have done for many years, hosing down their driveway and pathway. But because of the lie of the land, water has the habit of going downhill and water containing some of the crud has gone under the fence panel.”

Mr Vickery said Mr Burrows came out armed with his camera and brushed up bits. He was then sprayed by Mrs Lee and she was wrong to do this.

In view of the history there was “some provocation,” claimed the solicitor.

Mr Burrows collected more of the debris and divided it. He walked past the Lees’ and placed it on their driveway. “It’s just utter madness from each point of view. I don’t think anyone in this case comes out with any credit,“ Mr Vickery maintained.

He described the Lees’ as “respectable decent people“ and said it was “utterly tragic“ their animosity had resulted in court proceedings and a conviction at their time of life.

Mr Vickery declared :“This is certainly in my nearly 40 years experience the first time I have ever dealt with an assault by water from a hosepipe.“ The Lees’ planned to move, he said.

County court action had cost them £8,500 last year. “It beggars belief people can’t live together,” he added.

Mrs Galston added for the prosecution: “The Crown don’t seek to minimise this assault. It’s a nasty assault. Mr Burrows is entitled to be in his own garden without being sprayed with the hosepipe.“ Outside court Mr Burrows, 70, said: “It’s been a nightmare living next door. I will be glad when they sell up.“

His wife, the same age, a former hospital ward clerk, said: ”We just want to live in peace. We have a nice home and want to stay there.“