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Is it illegal to block someone's driveway with steel girders?

The steel girders outside Geoff Martin's driveway in Cedar Street, Whelley
The steel girders outside Geoff Martin's driveway in Cedar Street, Whelley

We've all suffered the annoyance of someone parking right outside your house ... but how would you react if someone dumped a haul of steel girders outside your driveway?

That's the conundrum faced by Geoff Martin after a row over the cost of a tiny strip of land outside his property with local businessman Mell Street escalated.

Related story: Clash as driveway blocked by girders on Wigan street

It follows a protracted disagreement over the price for a piece land directly outside Mr Martin's property but owned by Mr Mell.

The Cedar Street steel saga has sparked the imagination of readers, intrigued to know what the law says about Mr Mell's, erm, unusual approach to negotiations.

Put simply, Mr Mell is well within his rights to dump whatever he likes on the land because he owns it.

It matters not one jot that the girders block Mr Martin's driveway.

However, he could be committing an offence because, in theory at least, his actions could prevent an emergency services vehicle from entering the premises.

That being said, the current legislation doesn't exactly make clear whether the act of hypothetically causing a blockage is contrary to The Emergency Workers (Obstruction) Act 2006, which covers hindering people working for the fire brigade, police, NHS or other rapid response services but says it is an offence to prevent someone actually responding to an ongoing emergency incident.

The annoyance of someone parking outside your house or even on your driveway is much easier to solve.

While it may be frustrating if someone parks their car outside your house, they're perfectly entitled to do so if it is a public highway.

You have no special rights to claim that portion of the road. Sadly.

Equally, if someone were to park on your driveway you would, quite rightly, be mightily miffed, but would you have redress through the law.

The answer, perhaps surprisingly, is no ... and yes.

A person parking on your driveway is committing an act of trespass.

However, calling the police will not help because trespass is a civil, not a criminal matter.

The RAC say there is no criminal law against parking on someone else's driveway and the only legal remedy is to pursue a legal claim through the civil courts for nuisance behaviour .

If the vehicle has been left for a long time you may be able to ask the local council to remove it as an abandoned vehicle.