Chainsaw-wielding Martin Redfern has been labelled the ‘Jekyll and Hyde of Trowbridge’ by his neighbours who were tormented by him for months until he was issued with the county town’s only anti-social behaviour order last week.
The 41-year-old moved into Wilton Drive two years ago, but soon after Mr Redfern is said to have snapped and residents have been left terrified ever since.
Months of intimidation and verbal abuse ended last week with Chippenham magistrates issuing an anti-social behaviour order (Asbo) banning him from causing further trouble.
Residents told lawyers in court that Redfern would: l Verbally abuse his neighbours.
l Stare at them at their garden gate.
l Frighten them with a collection of noisy chainsaws in the early hours of the morning.
Neighbour Brian Raymond, 65, said: “It got so bad that if we were in the front garden and he came out of the house we would go back in.
“One minute he was a nice, seemingly clever bloke and the next he was completely mad. He’s like the Jekyll and Hyde of Trowbridge, only there’s more Hyde than Jekyll.”
Mr Redfern, however, has defended his actions, and said: "I have not been excessive. Now and again I have made a noise, but it is not day in and day out. That is not excessive.”
And his wife Sue has denied her unemployed husband is a Jekyll and Hyde character. She added: “If he is a Jekyll and Hyde then why has he been so nice? We’ve really tried to get on with everyone here, but they’ve given us so much grief.”
If Mr Redfern breaks the Asbo, which was put in place for two years from December 21, he could face criminal charges and be given a custodial sentence.
Tom Ward, public protection officer for Wiltshire Council, said: “This type of behaviour has greatly affected the community who were living in fear for their own safety.
“We are obviously very pleased with the outcome and we will continue to work with the police to help ensure no-one has to suffer this type of behaviour.”