Pensioner’s in padlock misery

Peter Rook stands at the gate which leads to his back garden
Peter Rook stands at the gate which leads to his back garden

A Biggleswade pensioner claims he has been trapped inside his home for almost a year.

Peter Rook, 77, of Hitchin Road, says he has been unable to leave the house from the back after he discovered his own gate had been padlocked by his neighbour, who he says refused to give him a key.

Mr Rook relies on a wheelie walker to move around and has to rely on passers-by to use his front door because of a six inch drop to the pavement outside.

Of his neighbour, a tearful Mr Rook, said: “He’s put a padlock on my small side gate and has refused to give me the key.

“I am now locked into my own home and I don’t know what I am going to do.”

A former Biggleswade councillor, Mr Rook took things into his own hands after he says the neighbour refused to move the lock.

He broke a brittle fence to gain entry to the through-way to his back garden and has now received an invoice for £96 saying he must pay for the replacement fence or face going to court.

Mr Rook rang the police and told them what he had done to try and make them aware of the situation.

A policeman visited Mr Rook and proposed a meeting with his neighbour to resolve the problems but he claims the neighbour had no interest in any meeting.

Furthermore, Mr Rook 
received a community caution for damaging the old fence.

Mr Rook said: “I don’t 
intend to pay a penny unless magistrates order me to. If they say you must pay it, then I will pay it, but not until then.

“I want this to go to court because I think if the magistrates listen to the evidence, and I have got proof from the land registry that it is the right of way for these three houses, then I think they will say I shouldn’t have been locked in.”

Neighbour Dave Carter, admits he has padlocked the side gate, but insists it is purely to protect his own two-year-old daughter.

He said: “In February I started a log and between then and the end of June Mr Rook left the gate open 36 times.

“I will take the padlock off if he gives me assurances over the gate being closed.

“I have written him letters, but he leaves the gate open in protest of it being there in the first place.

“This issue has been blown completely out of proportion.”