A French man has been found guilty of harassment for disrupting the construction of a new house next door to his rural property 20km to the south of Niort (Deux-Sèvres).
The 55-year-old objected to the impact the new development could have on the tranquillity of his own home when construction began in November 2020, and soon started to watch and photograph the building work from afar.
This continued surveillance was accompanied by repeated beeping from his car horn and foghorn.
The man then erected scaffolding to give himself a greater vantage point from which to watch the works and show his middle finger to the builders, the young couple about to move in, and their 15-month-old baby.
Accidental damage to the neighbour’s telephone line exacerbated his anger, and he began to spend his time producing complaints about supposed encroachments into his property and wall heights which infringed local building restrictions.
Eventually, the couple, who are expecting their second child, decided to make a complaint and the man was arrested.
During his trial on March 31, the neighbour’s explanations failed to convince the judge, who handed him a €2,000 suspended fine and forbade him from contacting the couple for the next three years.
The court also decided to require €1,200 in moral damages, as well as €2,872 for the money the couple were forced to spend in order to erect privacy screens around their property.