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Friday, 19 December 2014

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Barrow man who fought with neighbour caught by his own CCTV system

A PAIR of feuding Barrow neighbours appeared in court after their conflict came to blows – all captured on one of the men’s own CCTV cameras.

The two men were charged by police after months of arguments turned violent during a fight in the stairwell of a block of flats.

All the action was caught on camera by one of the men, William Van Cleefe, who installed his own CCTV around his flat for safety reasons.

Van Cleefe, 68, pleaded guilty to the use of threatening behaviour at Furness Magistrates Court on Tuesday.

The man he had locked horns with over the past year, Mark Trengove, 31, pleaded guilty to the same offence, as well as criminal damage and possession of cannabis.

Van Cleefe, an ex-serviceman, has lived in Anson Street for more than 10 years.

He said: “I installed my cameras in 2006 when things were really bad. You couldn’t walk down the stairs without passing a junkie or alcoholic. It was hell.”

Van Cleefe said he used his five cameras for security as he was a frequent victim of anti-social behaviour.

However, when Trengove moved across the road from Van Cleefe in the summer of last year, he took an immediate dislike to the surveillance equipment.

Van Cleefe said: “He came up to me shortly after moving in and asked if my cameras were recording.

“Nobody else has a problem with them. They’re not intrusive.”

The court heard Trengove would walk around Anson Street telling people Van Cleefe was a paedophile, and that he was spying on them.

This behaviour eventually culminated in Trengove breaking one of the cameras.

Van Cleefe then put a note up in the block of flats where he resides reading: “Mark, you do not own this street, and you do not live in this block. Go away.”

The feud came to a head on December 19 last year, when Trengove followed Van Cleefe up the stairs to his flat.

He became aggressive at Van Cleefe’s door, calling him a paedophile.

Feeling threatened, Van Cleefe grabbed a piece of wood and struck Trengove with it across the back of the head.

Van Cleefe said: “I admit that at that point I saw red.

“All I want to do is keep myself to myself. But at the same time, I’m too old to back down.

“I didn’t mean to hit him with the wood but I ended up knocking his head.”

A furious Trengove walked out of the flat, only to return minutes later with a cricket bat.

He proceeded to threaten Van Cleefe with the weapon.

Van Cleefe said: “He was standing outside my flat telling me to come outside and saying he was going to kill me.

“I’m not going to be a victim. I served in the army, and was in Belfast during the days of Bloody Sunday.

“I’ve seen bombs go off and had house bricks thrown at me. I’m not going to back down to somebody who wants to look like a big man.”

Another neighbour contacted the police after witnessing the conflict get out of hand and both men were arrested.

Magistrates gave Van Cleefe an eight-week curfew.

He was also ordered to pay £85 in legal costs and an £80 victim surcharge.

Van Cleefe has said he is “fuming” with the court’s result.

Trengove, who was, at the time of the offence, on conditional bail from crown court, was committed to Preston Crown Court for sentencing on February 21.

A condition of his bail is that he is not allowed near Van Cleefe.

Have your say

However much you love Barrow, you have to admit that Barrow has taken a massive nosedive over the years. Crimes are becoming more violent, such as the stabbing in Ormsgill.

This is from someone currently living in Barrow.

Posted by Anonymous on 4 February 2014 at 22:44

Barrow Girl I say this because Barrow is a small down compared to bigger towns and cities .Hence due to a narrow outdated view of what the world is like beyond the stone trough.The punishment does not fit the crime .I doubt very much in most major cities if this would have gone to court.

Posted by Salthouse Boy on 3 February 2014 at 15:39

View all 5 comments on this article

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