Man With Offensive Hedge Threatened With Fine

POLICE have ordered Haddenham man Ian Ashmeade to reshape his garden hedge after a member of the public complained that it was offensive. Mr Ashmeade admits the phallic-shaped hedge was a bit naughty, but he says it has always been a source of much amusement in the village.

POLICE have ordered Haddenham man Ian Ashmeade to reshape his garden hedge after a member of the public complained that it was offensive. Mr Ashmeade admits the phallic-shaped hedge was a bit naughty, but he says it has always been a source of much amusement in the village.

Officers told Ian Ashmeade that they had received a complaint about his hedge from a resident and ordered him to prune it or face an �80 fine for causing a public order offence.

Mr Ashmeade, who was recently crowned world pea shooting champion at the village’s annual tournament in Witcham, first pruned the offending hedge into the shape of a phallus in 2002 after he noticed that the natural growth of the plant had started to form a similar shape.

The hedge, which had been planted on Mr Ashmeade’s drive in Linden Way, stood proudly for eight years before a complaint from a villager forced police to investigate at the weekend.

“A policeman came around to my house and told my wife that someone had complained about the topiary and that if I didn’t do something I would be facing an �80 fine, Mr Ashmeade told the Ely Standard.

“The topiary was in its pruned state for more than eight years, why somebody has taken offence to it now I can’t understand. I think it is very sad.”

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After hearing of the police visit from his wife, Mr Ashmeade made immediate changes to the hedge which is now shaped like a pea shooter to commemorate his championship win.

Mr Ashmeade also said that he had never had a complaint from any of his neighbours about the hedge and in fact it was the source of much amusement in the village.

A spokesman for Cambridgeshire police said: “Officers received a complaint from a member of the public regarding the shape of a shrub. Officers went round at the weekend and asked the man to change its shape or he would be fined for a public order offence.

<piccap> The offending shrub which had to be pruned after a member of the public complained.