September 2015, R commenced his engineering course at Hull college. I had applied for D to go to Hull college within their 14-16 year old unit, we had attended the interview and I thought it went really well. However, for unexplained reasons, D was denied a place. Funny, I thought, the authorities are moaning about my kids being 'isolated' in home education, yet they refuse him a place? D was disappointed but we moved on. I continued home educating the 3 boys myself.
I was still angry over the conference in July, and the police constantly dismissing my complaints, and probably as I was feeling isolated and alone, I started getting vocal on Facebook and Twitter. I had a lot of support from my friends online so I started posting what was happening to us. By now I was feeling stalked, so I figured I'd give 'them' something to think about.
In early September, we also had a big garden clear up. Our garden was really big, and we'd not really done much during summer, so it took some work. The garden bin was soon full, so we bagged up the remaining grass clippings into 3 black bin liners, and put them behind the garden gate ready for when the bin was emptied. Within days, I received a letter from environmental health at East Riding Council. They had received an anonymous complaint that we had 'an accumulation of waste' in our garden, and that they would be sending an officer round to check, blah blah.
I was torn between rage and laughter. An accumulation of waste??? Are we really getting that pathetic?!
I rang the council and asked for the name on the letter. I explained the garden clear up, and excess grass clippings. I invited him round to take a look. I also asked who had reported this. He wouldn't tell me, but he was happy to accept my explanation, and he wouldn't need to visit. I put the phone down, and destroyed the letter. Fuck you, I thought. Fuck you.
But I was questioning my decision to stay. This wasn't going to stop, was it. My paradise was crumbling and I didn't understand what this person, people, whoever they were, had against me. Didn't we deserve some peace?
On September 22nd, 2015, K came to me. He was visibly shaken, eyes wide, confused look on his face. He'd been looking out of his window down at our garden, and he'd seen a sniper in the neighbours garden. Now Ks autism meant he had an amazing imagination, so I didn't immediately react.
"A what?" I asked him, slightly amused.
"There's a sniper. Next door" he whispered, his eyes were like saucers and he was gesturing for me to follow him.
I went with him upstairs, and in the neighbours garden stood a well built guy, shooting metal bolts from a large crossbow with sights attached to it, into the garden fence. I'd noticed these weird little splintered holes before, punched in the fence adjacent to my drive, and now I knew what had created them. This guy was literally shooting a crossbow at our fence!
I rang Humberside police, surely this can't be allowed. That looked like a lethal weapon to me. Humberside checked the land registry while I was on the phone, and confirmed he was within his own property boundaries and therefore there was nothing they could do.
My boy was scared, he has autism, how is this even allowed?
I was wasting my time. The guy shooting the crossbow, was one of their own.
We ended September with Bs 13th birthday, but I was uncertain about our future in Easington. It looked like certain neighbours were not going to leave us alone.
After complaining to the police about number 8s cctv cameras pointing at my house, the police made the guy point the camera downward. It was still obvious he had full view of my front door and the street in front but it had been tilted slightly down. It was freaky. I used the side door as much as possible to go in and out of the house, but being watched was getting to me.
In early October, I noticed the camera was pointing straight towards my door once again. I'd had enough now. If the police wouldn't do anything, I would.
I'd got a number of stickers in my home education supplies, and choosing a round one approximately the size of the camera lens, I marched over the road and stuck it straight over the front of the camera. And pressed it firmly onto the glass. Fuck you, I thought, dirty old man.
I'd find out soon enough, that he phoned the police demanding I be arrested for trespass and criminal damage.
2 days after tilting his camera back up to face my front door, he was up a ladder installing a THIRD CCTV camera, this one on the side of his house covering the entrance to the street. Was this guy for real or what? This was not about security, we lived in a remote crime-free village, with armed police patrolling past our street 24 hours a day. Plus the guy drove the most battered old crappy motor, what did he need 3 CCTV cameras for?
This was getting beyond creepy, I was clearly being watched, my every move, and my kids, was being recorded by multiple CCTV cameras. It started to feel like I was the star in my own version of 'The Truman Show'.
Despite all of this, we passed another tenancy inspection. I'd worked hard keeping the place in good order, hiring the 'Rug Doctor' to shampoo the carpets, cleaning the windows and 3 sets of patio doors. The inspection went well, at least someone was happy we were here. The letting agent was also concerned about the cameras pointing at our property, and raised this with Humberside police, who confirmed they would again ask number 8 to tilt the cameras towards his own property.
I started to post comments on Facebook, about what had happened to us, why we ended up in Easington. Being watched and filmed was unnerving, and with the police ignoring it like it was normal, I felt I was losing my mind. Maybe they thought I was some gangster, hiding out in a remote village. Why else was I being spied on? I started explaining our story...
After listening to my landline answer machine messages mid October, which I didn't do too often, I got a message from the police. A PC Wigglesworth. Are you serious? This had to be 'The Truman Show' now. I was even looking around, checking for hidden cameras.
He wanted to talk to me, could I get in touch with Withernsea police station, thanks.
Wigglesworth. That can't be a real name, I thought.
But I rang anyway.
He was real. And he wanted to talk to me about the sticker I put on the neighbours camera. I explained the situation, and the cameras. He said while no action was going to be taken, I was advised to 'stay away' from number 8.
What the hell was it about these neighbours? How were they allowed to blatantly stalk me, record every move I make, yet I'm the one the police are warning off? What the fuck was going on here?