AN 87-year-old grandmother with hearing problems was given an anti-social behaviour order – for playing her radio too loud.
Neighbours say they endured more than 13 months of hell as Georgina Sims relentlessly banged on the wall with her walking stick and played loud music day and night.
But daughter Bev Batten, 58, says the widow – who has tinnitus which causes her to hear noises and was having a breakdown – should have had more help.
‘It was obvious she needed help,’ she said.
‘She didn’t need an Asbo. I’ve got to say mum didn’t make it easy, but I don’t think taking her to court was the best thing to do.
‘She was genuinely hearing noises – she didn’t have a vendetta against the neighbours.’
Problems started at Mrs Sims’ home in Martello Close, Gosport, in August 2010, and led to her being given a noise abatement notice by Gosport Borough Council.
Next door neighbours Chris and Tony Adams were asked to keep a record of the problems.
Mrs Adams, 54, said: ‘It was absolute hell.
‘It made us ill. We have been let down every step of the way. The law desperately needs to be changed because it does not protect the victims.’
The noise continued and the council applied to the courts for Mrs Sims’ equipment to be seized. She was medically assessed but the problems did not stop.
Mrs Sims was given an interim Asbo in October – which banned her from making noise – and the council applied for a full Asbo.
She then admitted two counts of flouting a noise-abatement notice and was given a six-month conditional discharge and told to pay £500 costs by Fareham magistrates.
Mrs Sims moved to a new home on the day of the court hearing. The property was sold and the council withdrew its application for a full Asbo.
A council spokeswoman said: ‘Police and environmental health officers made an informal approach to try and engage with Mrs Sims to explain the conduct, namely playing her music so loudly and banging on the wall day and night, was not acceptable and that she was causing great distress to her neighbours.
‘The council and police liaised extensively with the health agencies and tried to make contact with her family, initially without success, to see if they would intervene.
‘The prosecution and application for an Asbo was supported by the police as a last resort but necessary because the persistent din and banging against the party wall did not abate.
‘This was despite the best efforts of the council and police to satisfactorily resolve the matter without the delay, expense, and stress of court proceedings.’