A sculptor who created a metal hand giving the two-fingered salute placed it by his fence facing the neighbours he had a planning row with, a court heard.
Baron Tremain, 54, allegedly attached the artwork at the top of a pole to annoy farm secretary Lisa, 42, and her accountant husband Jason.
The insulting sculpture was erected intermittently beside his wicker fence over a six week period last year so it could be seen by the couple and their two children.
Baron Tremain, 54, created a metal hand giving the two-fingered salute for an exhibition at The Forum centre in Norwich. When the exhibition finished he placed it by his fence facing the neighbours he had a planning row with intermittently over the course of six weeks
Baron Tremain (pictured), 54, allegedly attached the cheeky artwork at the top of a pole to annoy farm secretary Lisa, 42, and her accountant husband Jason
But the gesture helped to land him in court after Mr and Mrs Woodcock complained that it was an act of harassment.
They told how the metalwork sculptor had also repeatedly hurled abuse at them and shone a torch into their windows at night.
The couple revealed how the ill-feeling started after they objected to Tremain having built what was described as a blacksmith’s workshop in his garden.
Mr and Mrs Woodcock said they finally complained to police after Tremain allegedly ignored a civil injunction requiring him to stop harassing them.
Tremain denied a charge of ‘harassment, unwanted conduct, and offensive and threatening comments’ to Mrs Woodcock in the hamlet of Alby Hill near Cromer, Norfolk.
Lisa and Jason Woodcock said they finally complained to police after Tremain allegedly ignored a civil injunction requiring him to stop harassing them
The charge was dismissed on Thursday by Norwich magistrates before he could stand trial after he agreed to be given a restraining order banning him from any direct or indirect contact with Mr and Mrs Woodcock.
Tremain was warned that he could be jailed if he broke the order.
The court heard that he had placed the sculpture so it was visible to his neighbours after exhibiting it in The Forum centre which houses the library and local BBC offices in Norwich.
Paul Roach, prosecuting, told the court: ‘The sculpture, a rather offensive sculpture, was put on the boundary of the two properties.
‘It could only be construed as the V-sign, or a two-fingered salute.’
Alastair Taunton, defending, insisted that Tremain had not put up the sculpture at his three bedroom home Flint Cottage (pictured) with the intent of causing offence. Tremain said after the hearing that he was unable to comment due to his restraining order, but he described his v-sign sculpture as ‘quite hilarious’
Mr Roach quoted a line from the poem Mending Wall by the 20th century American poet Robert Frost, saying: ‘Good fences make good neighbours.’
Alastair Taunton, defending, insisted that Tremain had not put up the sculpture at his three bedroom home Flint Cottage with the intent of causing offence.
But he said that his client accepted that ‘putting it up where it was wasn’t the best idea’.
Mr Taunton added: ‘He wants to be the better man. He’s got no prior convictions. He and his partner have decided to put Flint Cottage up for sale.’
The couple revealed how the ill-feeling started after they objected to Tremain having built what was described as a blacksmith’s workshop (pictured) in his garden
Presiding magistrate Paul Frary gave Tremain a non-convicting restraining order for six months ‘to protect Lisa and Jason from further harassment’.
He told Tremain not to contact his neighbours directly or indirectly, except through solicitors, due to civil proceedings, and warned him: ‘ If you breach the order you could go to prison.’
Mrs Woodcock said after the hearing: ‘I just feel distressed and anxious nearly all the time. I’ve lost nearly two stone.’
She added: ‘We’ve lived here for three years. This was our dream house and it was for 18 months.
‘All I want, all we want, is to be left alone. If this restraining order works it will be fantastic. I just want it to go away.’
Mrs Woodcock said she and her husband first had a problem with Tremain when he complained about the sewage treatment plant which they needed as they are not on mains drainage.
She claimed that the Environment Agency had inspected their plant which was operating when they bought their house and no problems had been found with it.
Mr Woodcock wrote a letter of objection when Tremain applied for retrospective planning consent for his outbuilding which was described by a North Norfolk Council officer as a blacksmith’s workshop.
The application was refused in January last year, but another application for planning consent with provision for landscaping work to mask the outbuilding was approved last June.
The couple got solicitors involved after being shouted at by Tremain and got the injunction at Norwich County Court requiring Tremain to stay away from them.
Mrs Woodcock said: ‘He was shouting over the garden and swearing at us in front of the children, and shining a torch through our windows.
‘Our daughter is scared to go into the garden now. She doesn’t like going out alone.’
She said the v-sign sculpture first appeared last May and was erected at different times of the day, often when she was at home alone.
It was allegedly removed by Tremain after he got his planning consent.
Mr Woodcock said: ‘He called me a tosser and stuck his fingers up at Lisa. He just carried on abusing us and the police didn’t really seem interested. He lost the plot.
‘All we wanted was for him to give an undertaking to the court that he would not harass us, but instead he carried on coming after us.
‘The reason we got the injunction in the end was because he would not stop following us around the garden and swearing at us in front of the kids.
‘All we wanted was to be left alone. Nobody wants to be harassed in their own garden especially when kids are involved.’
Tremain said after the hearing that he was unable to comment due to his restraining order, but he described his v-sign sculpture as ‘quite hilarious’.
He insisted that it had only been on display for ‘not that long’.
Tremain added: ‘It’s a difficult one, this. I can’t really say much.’