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Millionaire builds 8ft hay wall around his £25m Norfolk estate sparking row with neighbours

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A millionaire ex-police commissioner has been accused of ‘taking revenge’ on his elderly neighbour by building an 8ft high wall of hay bales blocking her view of his £25million estate.

Landowner Stephen Bett, 69, a former Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk, erected the barrier after the 95 leylandii trees he planted were torn down by a mystery attacker at night.

The line of giant bales, placed close to the boundary of his Norfolk estate, covers the entire 60ft width of the back garden of his neighbour Maxine Turner’s bungalow.

The wall has deprived 78-year-old Mrs Turner of the view she had of the horses at Mr Bett’s 18th century mansion in Thornham, Norfolk.

Her son John Turner, 50, who lives with his mother as her carer during the week, accused Mr Bett of putting up the bales as ‘an act of spite’. 

But Mr Bett, who was Norfolk’s independent PCC from 2012 until 2016, said he did not want to look at his neighbours ‘barbecuing and putting their washing out’. 

He added: ‘To be honest, I don’t particularly want to see these people in their gardens, barbecuing and putting their washing out.

‘They have cut down their hedges to get a view, but it is not a good view for me. Why should I have to look at what they are doing?

‘Their privacy doesn’t seem to interest them, but I prefer privacy, so I put a hedge up, and that’s been cut down.’

John Turner beside the hay and straw bales blocking the view from his mother’s garden. Mr Turner, 50, has accused Stephen Bett of putting the bales up out of spite’ after someone tore down his leylandii hedge

John Turner who lives with his mother Maxine Turner, 78. as her carer, said she has been deprived of the view she previously had of the horses in Mr Bett's parkland meadow in front of his 18th century mansion

Wealthy landowner Stephen Bett, a former Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk, who is accused of putting up a wall of bales so he does not to have to look at a neighbour's home near his mansion in Thornham, Norfolk

John Turner (left) who lives with his mother Maxine Turner, 78, as her carer, said she has been deprived of the view she previously had of the horses in wealthy landowner and former Norfolk Police and Crime Commissioner Stephen Bett’s (right) parkland meadow in front of his 18th century mansion

A map showing the location of Mr Bett's Norfolk estate and his neighbours who have views of his 'hundreds of acres of meadows'

A map showing the location of Mr Bett’s Norfolk estate and his neighbours who have views of his ‘hundreds of acres of meadows’

The line of giant bales, close to the boundary of Mr Bett's Norfolk estate, covers the entire 60ft width of the back garden of Maxine Turner's bungalow

The line of giant bales, close to the boundary of Mr Bett’s Norfolk estate, covers the entire 60ft width of the back garden of Maxine Turner’s bungalow

Mr Turner, a part time gardener, said: ‘It looks like he is blaming me for cutting down his leylandii because I am one of the youngest people around here – but I didn’t do it.

‘He has only placed the bales outside my mother’s home and not any of the other neighbour’s houses because he wanted to upset us.

‘Mr Bett has hundreds of acres of farmland and he could have put them anywhere – but he chose to put them here.

‘My mother has multiple sclerosis and macular degeneration so her eyesight is failing.

‘Looking out on the horses on the meadow was a real pleasure for her – but now all she can see is this wall made of straw.

‘She has lived here for 40 years and has never seen anything like it. Until now the bales always used to be somewhere else on his land.’

Mr Turner claimed Mr Bett ‘upset locals’ around three-years-ago by planting a strip of leylandii trees close to his border to screen his view of around four homes, including his mother’s three bedroom bungalow, in a cul de sac called Shepherds Pightle.

The line of conifers, which started off as 18inch-high saplings, grew to a height of about ten feet before 95 of them were hacked down by a mystery attacker on the night of July 2.

Mr Bett’s staff responded by building a wall from bales opposite Mrs Turner’s garden, stacked on their ends on top of one another to initially form a 11ft high barrier.

Mr Turner was enraged to see the wall and said he knocked down the wall by toppling over the top bales which weighed around 600lbs each.

But Mr Bett has since rebuilt it, using a digger to put the bales on their sides so the structure is slightly lower at around 8ft high and more sturdy, making it almost impossible to knock over.

Mr Turner said he went back and knocked down the wall by toppling over the top bales which weighed around 600lbs each. But Mr Bett has since rebuilt it, using a digger to put the bales on their sides so the structure is slightly lower at around 8ft high and more sturdy, making it almost impossible to knock over

Mr Turner said he went back and knocked down the wall by toppling over the top bales which weighed around 600lbs each. But Mr Bett has since rebuilt it, using a digger to put the bales on their sides so the structure is slightly lower at around 8ft high and more sturdy, making it almost impossible to knock over

Mr Turner said he was told by North Norfolk District Council that Mr Bett was entitled to put his bales where he wanted on his 2,000 acres of land.

He added: ‘The police say there is nothing they can do because it is not a crime. They say there is no law against being vindictive.’

Mr Bett, who was Norfolk’s independent PCC between 2012 and 2016 said: ‘This all happened when I was out of the country in France.’

He confirmed that he had reported the loss of his 95 leylandii trees to police, but officers had told him nothing could be done as it was not known who was responsible.

Mr Bett said: ‘They said that unless we could prove who had done it, there was nothing they could do. It is understandable because it was done in the middle of the night.

‘It was done in front of his (Mr Turner’s) property. I have no idea whether he did it or not, and I don’t know who did it, but it was done.

‘As far as Mr Turner is concerned, he has no right to a view. It’s on our property He thinks he is entitled to a view, but he is not.’

Mr Turner said the beginnings of the row was when Mr Bett upset locals around three-years-ago by planting a strip of leylandii trees close to his border to screen his view of around four homes

Mr Turner said the beginnings of the row was when Mr Bett upset locals around three-years-ago by planting a strip of leylandii trees close to his border to screen his view of around four homes

Mr Bett said he had simply pointed out to Mr Turner that prospective home buyers had to be informed of any neighbourhood disputes by anyone selling a property.

He denied that his letter was a threat, and insisted that he was just ‘stating a fact’.

He added: ‘There is nothing much to say. He wants a view over my property, but I don’t want to look over his property.

‘He has cut down his hedge which he is quite entitled to do. I wouldn’t try and stop him.

‘But to say, I am spoiling his view is totally wrong. I am protecting my view. It is my property. Why shouldn’t I?

‘He has hedges down the side of his property next to his neighbours. Why does he do that?

‘We have got a roadway coming down to our house and we really don’t want to look at what other people are doing in their gardens.’

A Norfolk Police spokesperson said: ‘Police were called to reports of criminal damage to trees overnight on Saturday July 2. The incident happened at a property off Hall Lane, Thornham. Following an investigation, all lines of enquiry have been exhausted pending any further information. The victim has been informed and crime prevention advice given.’

Mr Bett was at the centre of controversy as Norfolk’s first PCC when it was revealed that he had been claiming expenses of £43.20 for every 96 mile round trip he made between his home and the Norfolk Police HQ at Wymondham.

He claimed he was entitled to the cash as he was using his home as his official office.

But he agreed to pay back all the £3,024 he had claimed at the rate of 45p a mile for 70 round trips between November 2012 and August 2013 as he did not want to ‘tarnish’ the image of Norfolk Police

Mr Bett insisted he had done nothing wrong, but said he would not be making future claims for trips between his home and the police HQ where his 15 staff were based.

He was cleared of dishonesty and found not to have committed a criminal act after an investigation by the City of London Police under the direction of the Independent Police Complaints Commission.


A millionaire ex-police commissioner has been accused of ‘taking revenge’ on his elderly neighbour by building an 8ft high wall of hay bales blocking her view of his £25million estate.

Landowner Stephen Bett, 69, a former Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk, erected the barrier after the 95 leylandii trees he planted were torn down by a mystery attacker at night.

The line of giant bales, placed close to the boundary of his Norfolk estate, covers the entire 60ft width of the back garden of his neighbour Maxine Turner’s bungalow.

The wall has deprived 78-year-old Mrs Turner of the view she had of the horses at Mr Bett’s 18th century mansion in Thornham, Norfolk.

Her son John Turner, 50, who lives with his mother as her carer during the week, accused Mr Bett of putting up the bales as ‘an act of spite’. 

But Mr Bett, who was Norfolk’s independent PCC from 2012 until 2016, said he did not want to look at his neighbours ‘barbecuing and putting their washing out’. 

He added: ‘To be honest, I don’t particularly want to see these people in their gardens, barbecuing and putting their washing out.

‘They have cut down their hedges to get a view, but it is not a good view for me. Why should I have to look at what they are doing?

‘Their privacy doesn’t seem to interest them, but I prefer privacy, so I put a hedge up, and that’s been cut down.’

John Turner beside the hay and straw bales blocking the view from his mother’s garden. Mr Turner, 50, has accused Stephen Bett of putting the bales up out of spite’ after someone tore down his leylandii hedge

John Turner who lives with his mother Maxine Turner, 78. as her carer, said she has been deprived of the view she previously had of the horses in Mr Bett's parkland meadow in front of his 18th century mansion

Wealthy landowner Stephen Bett, a former Police and Crime Commissioner for Norfolk, who is accused of putting up a wall of bales so he does not to have to look at a neighbour's home near his mansion in Thornham, Norfolk

John Turner (left) who lives with his mother Maxine Turner, 78, as her carer, said she has been deprived of the view she previously had of the horses in wealthy landowner and former Norfolk Police and Crime Commissioner Stephen Bett’s (right) parkland meadow in front of his 18th century mansion

A map showing the location of Mr Bett's Norfolk estate and his neighbours who have views of his 'hundreds of acres of meadows'

A map showing the location of Mr Bett’s Norfolk estate and his neighbours who have views of his ‘hundreds of acres of meadows’

The line of giant bales, close to the boundary of Mr Bett's Norfolk estate, covers the entire 60ft width of the back garden of Maxine Turner's bungalow

The line of giant bales, close to the boundary of Mr Bett’s Norfolk estate, covers the entire 60ft width of the back garden of Maxine Turner’s bungalow

Mr Turner, a part time gardener, said: ‘It looks like he is blaming me for cutting down his leylandii because I am one of the youngest people around here – but I didn’t do it.

‘He has only placed the bales outside my mother’s home and not any of the other neighbour’s houses because he wanted to upset us.

‘Mr Bett has hundreds of acres of farmland and he could have put them anywhere – but he chose to put them here.

‘My mother has multiple sclerosis and macular degeneration so her eyesight is failing.

‘Looking out on the horses on the meadow was a real pleasure for her – but now all she can see is this wall made of straw.

‘She has lived here for 40 years and has never seen anything like it. Until now the bales always used to be somewhere else on his land.’

Mr Turner claimed Mr Bett ‘upset locals’ around three-years-ago by planting a strip of leylandii trees close to his border to screen his view of around four homes, including his mother’s three bedroom bungalow, in a cul de sac called Shepherds Pightle.

The line of conifers, which started off as 18inch-high saplings, grew to a height of about ten feet before 95 of them were hacked down by a mystery attacker on the night of July 2.

Mr Bett’s staff responded by building a wall from bales opposite Mrs Turner’s garden, stacked on their ends on top of one another to initially form a 11ft high barrier.

Mr Turner was enraged to see the wall and said he knocked down the wall by toppling over the top bales which weighed around 600lbs each.

But Mr Bett has since rebuilt it, using a digger to put the bales on their sides so the structure is slightly lower at around 8ft high and more sturdy, making it almost impossible to knock over.

Mr Turner said he went back and knocked down the wall by toppling over the top bales which weighed around 600lbs each. But Mr Bett has since rebuilt it, using a digger to put the bales on their sides so the structure is slightly lower at around 8ft high and more sturdy, making it almost impossible to knock over

Mr Turner said he went back and knocked down the wall by toppling over the top bales which weighed around 600lbs each. But Mr Bett has since rebuilt it, using a digger to put the bales on their sides so the structure is slightly lower at around 8ft high and more sturdy, making it almost impossible to knock over

Mr Turner said he was told by North Norfolk District Council that Mr Bett was entitled to put his bales where he wanted on his 2,000 acres of land.

He added: ‘The police say there is nothing they can do because it is not a crime. They say there is no law against being vindictive.’

Mr Bett, who was Norfolk’s independent PCC between 2012 and 2016 said: ‘This all happened when I was out of the country in France.’

He confirmed that he had reported the loss of his 95 leylandii trees to police, but officers had told him nothing could be done as it was not known who was responsible.

Mr Bett said: ‘They said that unless we could prove who had done it, there was nothing they could do. It is understandable because it was done in the middle of the night.

‘It was done in front of his (Mr Turner’s) property. I have no idea whether he did it or not, and I don’t know who did it, but it was done.

‘As far as Mr Turner is concerned, he has no right to a view. It’s on our property He thinks he is entitled to a view, but he is not.’

Mr Turner said the beginnings of the row was when Mr Bett upset locals around three-years-ago by planting a strip of leylandii trees close to his border to screen his view of around four homes

Mr Turner said the beginnings of the row was when Mr Bett upset locals around three-years-ago by planting a strip of leylandii trees close to his border to screen his view of around four homes

Mr Bett said he had simply pointed out to Mr Turner that prospective home buyers had to be informed of any neighbourhood disputes by anyone selling a property.

He denied that his letter was a threat, and insisted that he was just ‘stating a fact’.

He added: ‘There is nothing much to say. He wants a view over my property, but I don’t want to look over his property.

‘He has cut down his hedge which he is quite entitled to do. I wouldn’t try and stop him.

‘But to say, I am spoiling his view is totally wrong. I am protecting my view. It is my property. Why shouldn’t I?

‘He has hedges down the side of his property next to his neighbours. Why does he do that?

‘We have got a roadway coming down to our house and we really don’t want to look at what other people are doing in their gardens.’

A Norfolk Police spokesperson said: ‘Police were called to reports of criminal damage to trees overnight on Saturday July 2. The incident happened at a property off Hall Lane, Thornham. Following an investigation, all lines of enquiry have been exhausted pending any further information. The victim has been informed and crime prevention advice given.’

Mr Bett was at the centre of controversy as Norfolk’s first PCC when it was revealed that he had been claiming expenses of £43.20 for every 96 mile round trip he made between his home and the Norfolk Police HQ at Wymondham.

He claimed he was entitled to the cash as he was using his home as his official office.

But he agreed to pay back all the £3,024 he had claimed at the rate of 45p a mile for 70 round trips between November 2012 and August 2013 as he did not want to ‘tarnish’ the image of Norfolk Police

Mr Bett insisted he had done nothing wrong, but said he would not be making future claims for trips between his home and the police HQ where his 15 staff were based.

He was cleared of dishonesty and found not to have committed a criminal act after an investigation by the City of London Police under the direction of the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

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