Plymouth pensioner refuses to trim 50ft high "I"m a Celebrity" garden

It's a jungle over there: Tree-loving OAP refuses to trim 50ft high garden which towers over neighboursWilliam Hackett, 74, grows fir trees and a Chinese Tree
of Heaven, which can reach
80ft or more, in his front gardenLocals have taken to using his overgrown garden as a rubbish dump

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UPDATED:

08:41 GMT, 28 November 2012

A pensioner’s jungle-like front garden is now so overgrown local residents have started fly-tipping rubbish on his drive to try and force him to cut it back.

William Hackett’s semi-detached property is now barely visible behind 50ft fir trees that tower over his own house and his neighbour's homes.

Residents living near the pensioner on Billacombe Road in Plymstock, Plymouth, Devon, have repeatedly suggested Mr Hackett trim back his collection of firs.

Welcome to the jungle: William Hackett, 74, pictured standing outside him home in Plymouth, Devon, after locals complained about the 50ft trees which now completely obscure his property

Welcome to the jungle: William Hackett, 74, pictured standing outside him home in Plymouth, Devon, after locals complained about the 50ft trees which now completely obscure his property

But while Mr Hackett, 74, accepts his front garden is somewhat busy, he feels he shouldn't be blamed because other people dislike trees.

Mr Hackett's collection includes fir trees and a Tree of Heaven – Ailanthus altissima – which is native of China and grows to 80ft or more.

Neighbours have now reported his garden to Plymouth City Council.

Mr Hackett, who served in the Army medical corps during his National Service and the Navy reserves, said: 'I went out yesterday and there
was a man from the corporation [Plymouth City Council] taking photos of
my garden saying there had been a complaint from one of the neighbours.

'They said there were “leaves on their car”.

'I told him, “I didn’t invent Autumn”. Besides, how do they know it’s leaves from my trees Did they DNA test them

'The corporation man’s response was “you’ll be getting a letter”.'

Local landmark: The rare Chinese fir trees - called Ailanthus altissima - can reach more than 80ft

Dumping ground: Locals have taken to dumping tyres in Mr Hackett's garden

Local landmark: The rare Chinese fir trees – called Ailanthus altissima – which cover the front of Mr Hackett's house can reach more than 80ft. Locals have dumped tyres in his garden to try and get him to trim them back

Mr Hackett admitted the incident was the not the first time his trees have caused issues – with people even dumping car tyres in his garden to make a point about the state of his garden.

He said: 'I’ve had people say “you want to cut it down”, “you want to do this”, “you want to do that”.

'They don’t come out and say it straight, they don’t have the strength of character.

'I’ve been finding the car tyres over the last couple of years. They just turn up in my garden.

'The tyres cost 2 each to get rid of,
but if I clear them away whoever dumps them will just continue. I found
one under my kitchen window.

'My garden’s being ruined by other people dumping their rubbish. But I was here before the other people came.

'I think some city dwellers are intimidated by tall trees, but they are awesome things.

'It’s a strange attitude to have considering we need them so badly.'

A spokesman for Plymouth City Council confirmed they had been to the address, but only to see if the trees were causing a disruption to the highway.