Ms Freeman is fed up of her plants getting trashed by football
Penny Freeman, 73, has spent £3,000 transforming the walled garden of her seaside Victorian home creating a manicured lawn, colourful flower beds and beautiful trellis archways.
But the pensioner says children living in neighbouring houses are wreaking havoc as balls are constantly sailing over the 1.5 metre high garden wall.
The two young children have a goal at the end of their garden but grandmother-of-four Mrs Freeman says they find her garden more often than the back of the net, smashing pots and breaking plants.
A set of goal posts in the next door neighbours garden
I’m very angry. The children don’t say, 'please can I have my ball back, I am sorry’. It is beyond the pale
With no-one knocking on her door to ask for the balls back or apologise for the damage, Ms Freeman decided to keep them so the children would “learn the consequences”.
But she was stunned when her neighbour complained to police and two officers turned up at her door to warn her she could be charged with theft if she didn’t hand them back.
She said: “I’m very angry. The children don’t say, 'please can I have my ball back, I am sorry’. It is beyond the pale.
“It seems you don’t need to ask for your balls back, you just call the police.
Ms Freeman decided to keep the footballs so the boys would 'learn the consequences'
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“The police came round and said we hear you are having trouble with footballs.
“I thought, “Oh my God, this is not happening”.
“They told me I was not allowed to keep the footballs and I had to return them. I said I had no intention of keeping the balls.
“I wanted the children to learn the consequences. This year we’ve had balls come over about 10 times.”
Ms Freeman says following the heavy-handed approach by Humberside Police she is now considering ringing 999 every time a ball sails into her garden citing criminal damage.
Ms Freeman has lived in the semi-detached home in Bridlington with her brother James Fudge, 71, for the past five years.
She added: “Last year, we thought we would keep the balls for a week and see if they would come and ask for them back.
“They never did. We had 10 balls in our shed.
“We only kept them for a week. We had no intention of destroying them.”
The mother of the two boys, aged 11 and six, insisted that she has offered to pay for any damage caused, but was too scared of her “battleaxe” neighbour to ask for the balls back.
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The mum, who asked not to be named, said: “I am scared of her, I am not sending my children.
“We just want them to chuck the balls back over the wall.
“I know it can be a bit of a nuisance, I do understand, it’s just one of those things.
“They are not little terrors or anything like that, they are just normal kids.”
A Humberside Police spokesman confirmed both parties had been spoken too, adding: “Words of advice have been offered to take steps to resolve the matter.”