A 71-YEAR-OLD man who tormented his neighbours over an eight-year period was warned he faces jail if there is any repeat.

Blackburn magistrates heard Harry Ferris sprayed Philip, 72, and Tilly Hellawell, 70, twice with a high-pressure water hose after complaining about dog fouling by their pets.

The court was told the offences were the latest in a series of angry outbursts which had also led to Ferris appearing in court for assaults on the couple in 2014 and 2015.

Mrs Hellawell told police: “After eight years of verbal and physical abuse I feel absolutely broken.”

And Mr Hellawell said; “We are never sure when the next outburst will come.”

Ferris, of Bull Hall, Todmorden Road, Bacup, pleaded guilty to five charges of assault. He was made subject to a community order for 12 months with 15 days rehabilitation activity requirement.

He was fined £100 and ordered to pay £200 compensation, £200 costs and £95 victim surcharge.

He was made subject to a restraining order for two years which prohibits him from having any contact with Mr and Mrs Hellawell or going within 10 metres of them.

Deputy District Judge Michael Hopkinson said it was a distressing situation with both parties feeling they had a grievance against the other.

“These disputes are notoriously difficult to resolve but it is you who has ended up in a criminal court,” he said.

“The consequences of any further offences are that you could be facing a prison sentence.”

Andy Robinson, prosecuting, said the defendant and the aggrieved lived in adjoining properties and there was a long-standing dispute because Ferris had to cross their land to get to his own house.

The issue raised by Ferris in the latest assaults had been dog fouling on land he had legal access to.

There had been an assault on Mr Hellawell in January when he fell over and injured his knee after being pushed by Ferris.

On April 5 Mr and Mrs Hellawell were unloading some shopping when Ferris ran across shouting about dog fouling and sprayed them both with a high-pressure hose.

Three weeks later Mr Hellawell was in the process of cleaning up after his dogs when Ferris approached and sprayed him to the face and body with the hosepipe.

Mrs Hellawell came forward to challenge him and he jetted her, shouting abuse at her.

In his statement Mr Hellawell said they had lived peacefully and happily at their address until Ferris and his wife moved in in 2012.

Mrs Hellawell said Ferris could appear at any time, threatening to harm her and kill her dogs by poisoning them.

“We are desperate for peace and quiet,” she added.

Jane Shaw, defending, said there were two sides to every story.

“He has to cross the complainant’s land to get to his front door and where the dogs are fouling is where he has right of way,” said Miss Shaw.

“He has gone through other channels to resolve this situation and has shown me a £22,000 legal bill.

“Unfortunately he hasn’t been able to find a resolution and has reacted.”

She said the defendant’s 78-year-old wife has terminal cancer and that and his own health problems had led to him becoming frustrated. “He knows he shouldn’t have reacted,” added Miss Shaw.