A 90-year-old grandfather has been reported to the police by his local council - for clearing land behind his home.

Keith Ramsell paid contractors £1,300 to chop down the "wall of vegetation" in Bushey, after falling and injuring his arm.

He had spent more than a year previously contacting Hertsmere Borough Council, asking them to work on the area.

But when he emailed them to say he'd completed the job himself he was told he had committed criminal damage - and the police had been informed.

A council email said: "For absolute clarity you must not carry out any such actions again."

Annoyed, Keith, a retired university professor, shot back a week later and said he had approached a passing police officer - to hand himself in.

Watford Observer: The cleared area.The cleared area. (Image: SWNS)

But he said the officer "absolutely declined to taser me, or even put me in handcuffs", in an email back to the council.

And, as yet, he's not been arrested.

Widowed grandfather-of-four Keith said he's "half outraged and half amused" by the whole ordeal.

The council confirmed it had made a criminal damage report. Police confirmed an investigation had been opened.

Keith said: "I wrote to the council to tell them what I'd done - and they said I'd caused criminal damage.

“So I contacted the police and told them life on the run didn't suit me. I'd rather hand myself in.

“There has been two fires on the patch of land - last autumn and this spring - as it's very dry. They were quite terrifying.

“And I felt very cross and very concerned about my two neighbours who lived in the dark, because they had this wall of vegetation right up to their windows."

Keith bought the retirement property in March 2021 and says the flat used to have views of a nearby park and old moat.

But this became obscured by long grass and "saplings", Keith claims - which he says also encouraged anti-social behaviour and was a fire risk.

Emails show Keith contacted the council about the area, off Moatfield Recreation Ground, in June 2022 - calling it a "matter of great concern".

Messages were then exchanged in which Keith asked for the area to be tended to.

But a council email dated April 2023 said no further work was planned.

Keith then fell and bruised his arm while clearing the area of rubbish last month - and decided he'd had enough.

An international concert violinist, he says the injury left him doubting if he would be able to fulfil his final engagement – recording a Bach concerto for two violins.

Thankfully he was still able to complete the recording.

Watford Observer: Keith Ramsell.Keith Ramsell. (Image: SWNS)At his wits' end with the council, Keith hired contractors to clear the area on August 26.

But when he informed the council of what he’d done days later, he received an email informing him he’d been reported to the police for criminal damage.

After his unsuccessful attempt to hand himself in, Keith replied to the council - asking the police to "kindly get on with it".

And he said: “Once a week I go around and pick up empty bottles and cans and things, and in the long grass I tripped over a stump and hurt my arm very badly.

“I lost my temper and got contractors to only clear the dead stuff, nothing green - they did a great job, they took it all away and charged me £1,300.

“It’s quite a lot of money but they did a good job and it's safe. It won't burn anymore.”

Retired hairdresser Jennifer Gee, 73, lives in the same block as Keith.

She described the shrubland area as "triffid" - a common reference to describe large, invasive or menacing-looking plants.

Watford Observer: The cleared area.The cleared area. (Image: SWNS)Jennifer said: "[The council] think old people won't fight back - but they're wrong. It's been a hazard and it’s a claustrophobic, triffid experience living here.

“I’ve lived here for 11 or 12 years. They used to come every other year to cut it down.

"Then it went to every three years, and now they’re saying they’re not coming back and won’t do it anymore.

“It’s a small corner of the park so to them it’s not a nuisance - but to us it's just awful."

Keith's carer Dorota, 45, helped contact the council to ask for help previously.

And she said: “We haven't heard anything from police regarding the criminal damage as of yet.

"We've tried to contact the police and ask them.”

A Hertsmere Borough Council spokesperson said: "We can confirm that we’ve reported an incident of criminal damage (the removal of 30 mature trees and other shrubbery) at Moatfield Recreation Ground in Bushey to Hertfordshire Constabulary.

"As there is an on-going police investigation, it wouldn’t be appropriate for us to comment further at this stage."

Hertfordshire police said: “Police in Hertsmere are currently investigating a report of criminal damage after 30 trees were allegedly cut down in Moatfield Road, Bushey, on Saturday 26 August.

“Enquiries are being carried out and anyone with information should call the non-emergency number 101 quoting crime reference 41/70946/23."