A sex offender's garden in Sheffield has been left to ‘wrack and ruin’ while he is locked up – and his exasperated neighbour says no one is willing to help.
Christopher Farr is serving an 11-year prison sentence after being convicted at Sheffield Crown Court in July 2013 of 15 counts of indecent assault.
The back garden of the 57-year-old’s home on Mill Road, in Ecclesfield, has become overrun with dense, shoulder-height weeds and brambles during his spell behind bars.
His next door neighbour Josephine Moysey says the abandoned garden is not just an eyesore but has become infested with rats and is damaging her fence.
She says she is unable to clear the mess herself as that would be trespassing, and when she complained to Sheffield Council she was told nothing could be done.
“His garden’s gone to wrack and ruin. The weeds have broken my new fence, the roots are coming through into my garden and there are rats living in there,” said the 46-year-old English teacher.
“Initially I assumed it was an environmental health concern so somebody from the council would be able to clear the garden, or order him to get it cleared.
“But at first the council didn’t return my calls and when my local councillor chased them up they said my only option was to sue him.
“They told me they would write to him to see what he planned to do about it, but I explained to them that he wouldn't get the letter because he’s in prison.
“It doesn’t seem fair because he's not paying council tax while he’s in prison and he has no responsibility for maintaining his garden, yet my home was empty for a month and I had to pay council tax.
“I assumed that if you go to prison there’s still some duty of care for your house but it seems not.”
The Ministry of Justice said it was not responsible for the upkeep of prisoners’ homes while they were behind bars and declined to comment on whether convicts themselves had any responsibility, or who might be able to help neighbours in this position.
Sheffield Council has not responded to The Star’s enquiry, but the council website states that if a property is left unoccupied due to the single owner going to prison it will be exempt from council tax until their release and return to that address.