The 7 garden crimes you could inadvertently commit

The 7 garden crimes you could inadvertently commit

Posted 22nd February

This time of year, Brits up and down the country will start thinking about what they can do to get their gardens ready for the nicer weather.

However, the experts at have warned Brits to make sure they don't unwittingly commit a crime in the process, and are sharing their tips for what you can do to avoid getting into any bother.

1. No inadvertent stealing

Did you know that leeping and eating wind-fallen fruit, even if they blew into your garden, could still be considered theft? This is because they are viewed as being someone else's property that you have intentionally deprived them of. On a similar line, taking leaves, twigs and branches from your neighbours' trees can also be treated the same way.

Get around this by making sure you seek permission before taking any items that technically belong to someone else. If they say no, make sure to return them to their rightful owner.

2. Waste disposal

You cannot just chuck your fruit, twigs or trimmings over the garden fence; this could be viewed as garden waste fly tipping.

In fact, even scooping up cat droppings which you think could belong to a neighbour's pet and then tossing them back to where you believe they came from could be viewed as illegally disposing of rubbish, particularly if you don't have any actual evidence as to where they came from.

3. No trespassing!

Did you know that even leaning into your neighbour's garden to cut an overhanging tree or plant could be viewed as trespassing, even if you're not crossing any physical barriers?

Green-fingered Brits should actually only be picking up their shears to cut up to the boundary line of their property. If you want to carry out any other garden maintenance, you should check with your neighbour first.

4. Let there be light

The ancient right to light law still applies nowadays. In effect, if a window has received natural daylight for two decades or more, the owner of that building can forbid any obstruction that could impact on their illumination.

5. Polluting the air

Brits who have numerous people round for social gatherings could inadvertently be guilty of noise pollution if they disturb their neighbours, especially if they do it overnight.

Other items that could leave you in hot water include noisy, mechanical garden equipment, like lawnmowers, chainsaws of a hot tub.

You could also illegally pollute the air if you burn rubbish or hold a barbeque or bonfire that is too smoky.

6. Snooping around

If you have children and they go on a trampoline they could be subject to complaints that they're intruding the neighbours' privacy.

You could also find yourself accused of trying to sneak a peek into your neighbour's home when you're climbing a ladder to clean your windows or cutting a tree, so if anyone rises above the height of the backyard fences or hedges will need to be reminded of respecting their neighbours' privacy.

7. Be careful where you paint

If you paint a fence that doesn't belong to you, it actually counts as minor vandalism. Therefore, it's crucial to check the property deeds or land registry if you're unsure.

Other things you should make sure you've sought permission to do beforehand include attaching a washing line, garden hose or hanging basket to your neighbour's outside wall, as it could cause potential damage.

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