Officials have been praised for helping to bring a South Derbyshire traveller who flooded six neighbours’ gardens during a sustained campaign of harassment to justice.

South Derbyshire District Council and Derbyshire police have been thanked for their joint efforts in taking John Doherty to court after he caused major upset for his neighbours in Overseal during a year-long campaign of harassment which also saw him ignoring official warnings not to illegally burn waste.

The 35-year-old was jailed last year for 38 weeks for harassing his neighbours in Woodville Road, between April 2016 and 2017. His transgressions included flooding six neighbours’ gardens after he dumped a pile of hard core rubble onto his land without permission and filling their sewage pipes with concrete which meant that water could not drain away.

He was also made the subject of a five-year Criminal Behaviour Order by the courts, which banned him from starting any outdoor fires, blocking access to vehicles and operating outdoor machinery.

Following his release from prison earlier this year, Doherty ended up in court again last month for breaching the order and ignoring council warnings not to start fires.

He had started a fire involving commercial waste comprising a mix of plastics, rubber and other materials in a large skip on his land in Overseal. The court heard residents were being subjected to potentially high levels of pollution at the time. He was also recently fined £10,000 by the courts.

A wall demolished by John Doherty can still be seen on Google maps

Councillor Pat Murray, who represents Overseal on the district council, spoke on the matter at the latest Safer Neighbourhood meeting and Linton Area Forum when he thanked council officers and police involved in bringing Doherty to court.

He said: "The issues in Woodville Road and how the police and council worked together have been brought to a conclusion I am very satisfied about.

"He was jailed and later taken to court to pay a hefty fine which goes to show if you break the law it will be adhered to.

"I want to say thank you to the police for the way they operated in Overseal. I don’t know how that person (who was subjected to harassment) stayed in her home."

PC Paul Russell, of the local policing team covering the village, said: "I would ask that you report it. It does take time. It has taken nearly two years to come to a conclusion. But it does work."

Mr Murray also thanked council officers during the area forum meeting.

The static caravan being removed from the site in Overseal

The district council’s chief executive Frank McArdle told the meeting: "It was a different way we operated, using civil law rather than criminal law, to make that deterrent. And we kept at it. And now we have a person who has been in prison and landed with a hefty fine."

Sergeant Graham Summers, of Swadlincote police, said at the time that Doherty thought he was "untouchable" due to his attitude and tactics. However, he was convicted in court following careful investigations by police officers.

Doherty was previously embroiled in a row with the district council which had turned down his plan to set up a five-pitch traveller site on land to the rear of 137 to 149 Woodville Road, Overseal.

But an independent Government inspector, Paul Dignan, later approved the plans after Doherty appealed over the council's decision.

In October last year, Doherty caused traffic mayhem when a static caravan was moved from his site and became stuck at an angle in Woodville Road at about 9am. Police were called to the scene to manage the traffic.

Anyone who wishes to report pollution in South Derbyshire is urged to complete an online form at

Under the terms of his Criminal Behaviour Order, Doherty must not:

1. Personally or by instructing, permitting or encouraging others, act in an anti-social manner, that it is to say a manner likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress, to victims, or any one or more persons within Overseal.

2. Cause, permit or encourage, any controlled waste to be accumulated at his home address in Woodville Road, Overseal, and/or dispose of such waste without lawful authority. This requirement shall not apply to such domestic household wastes as are lawfully secured and contained in containers, namely domestic ‘wheelie bins’, at the premises in accordance with the requirements of the local waste collection authority, South Derbyshire District Council.

3. Have any outdoor fires on the land within the curtilage of his home address in Woodville Road that cause nuisance to other residents or potentially cause their health to be put at risk through the emitting of thick smoke.

4. Park any vehicle, caravan or trailer wholly or partly on the footpaths in Woodville Road, Overseal.

5. Block the access, including vehicle access, of any resident of Woodville Road, Overseal in such a way which would impede them from driving on or off their property or cause them any difficulty in accessing their property.

6. Inhibit the views out of neighbour’s windows with any construction, tree or shrub in a manner that may be considered designed, intended, or calculated to cause nuisance or annoyance to any other neighbour on Woodville Road, Overseal.

7. Operate any outdoor machinery, power tools or undertake any construction work within the curtilage of his home address in Woodville Road; after the hours of 7pm or before 8am Monday to Friday, outside of 8am to 1.30pm on Saturdays and at no time on Sundays or Bank or Public Holidays.

8. Cause or act in a manner likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to any one or more persons within Overseal, by way of carrying out, permitting or causing works of construction, demolition, alteration or other similar works or activities in breach of planning controls or conditions or otherwise at unreasonable hours or in such manner that may be considered to be carried out with a view to causing harassment, alarm or distress.

9. Directly or indirectly, whether alone or in concert with or by assisting, permitting or encouraging others, cause or act in a manner likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress to any person by way of the playing of amplified music, abusive or excessive shouting or use of intimidation within Overseal.

10. Directly or indirectly, whether alone or in concert with or by assisting, permitting or encouraging others, use signs or gestures calculated, displayed or carried out in a manner likely to cause distress.