Jim Higgins, a pensioner from Cumbria, replaced a dilapidated old fence at a footpath at the end of his garden after his dog got injured on a protruding metal spike. He also built a wooden seat for the comfort of passers-by. However, Sustrans, the charity responsible for the path have reported him to the police for theft of the old railings and have raised safety concerns over the bench he constructed.
Mr Higgins, a former police officer, has been unable to sleep properly whilst the enquiries continue. He thought he was doing everyone a favour but now is afraid that he may end up with a criminal conviction.
‘I admit I did it. When I mentioned my plans to replace the fence, they seemed pleased I was willing to sort it out’.
A neighbour said that everyone locally is happy with what Jim has done and they are aghast at the way he has been treated. Sustrans, who said they see health and safety as really important and they try to avoid any risks to the public, are waiting to hear whether the police wish to press charges. In the meantime they are making a claim to their insurers in connection with the original fence that Jim replaced.