Dispute with neighbours lands pensioner in cells

Phillip Taylor pictured outside his home alongside some of the rocks he was arrested for damaging
Phillip Taylor pictured outside his home alongside some of the rocks he was arrested for damaging

A frail 84-year-old Whitby man spent a night in a police cell for allegedly hitting a rock with a hammer.

Phillip Taylor, who suffers from M.E. was arrested outside his home in Love Lane on suspicion of causing criminal damage following a neighbourly dispute that saw him strike some decorative sandstone boulders with a garden tool.

A shaken Mr Taylor said: “It was a degrading experience spending a night in a prison cell and I was embarrassed when I was arrested at my own front gate.

“I felt sheer fear in the cells. It was intimidating and I was going backwards and forwards between my cell and being interviewed, presumably to disorientate me.”

Mr Taylor, a former soldier, was handcuffed and taken to Scarborough Police Station, over 20 miles away.

“I consider the whole experience totally unnecessary. Arresting me like that was a complete overreaction,” he added.

Due to his illness, which causes him to suffer from persistent fatigue, Mr Taylor has to rest regularly throughout the day, otherwise he becomes severely unwell.

He said that during his time in custody he was unable to get any sleep.

Mr Taylor added: “I was already disorientated and then I had to listen to the man in the cell next door to me screaming all night long. It sounded like he was being tortured.”

Mr Taylor estimates that he has been at war with his neighbours, who are both serving police officers, for five years over a patch of land adjacent to his home.

The situation escalated when his neighbours allegedly arrived at his home brandishing a chainsaw and cut down one of his trees.

Mr Taylor said that they left the tree trunk and branches across an entrance to the rear of his property which he uses to access a caravan.

In protest, Mr Taylor parked his car on the adjacent grass verge, which is owned by his neighbours.

He later returned to his car to find it blocked in by the boulders that had been placed around the perimeter of the land.

He continued: “I’m not an aggressive person but I have done something that was a response to years of aggression and of being shouted and screamed at by my neighbours.

“All I have asked for from them and from the police is consideration.

“I think that my neighbours and the officers who dealt with me are idiots and I’ve told them this.

“I certainly won’t be inviting them around for tea.”