Man who wielded spade at neighbour in threats over noise says they’re now ‘best friends’ | UK | News

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Man who wielded spade at neighbour in threats over noise says they’re now ‘best friends’ | UK | News

A man is now « on best friend terms » with a neighbour he threatened with a spade after becoming agitated over noise. 

Leeds Crown Court heard Michael Birch, 58, wielded the gardening implement after becoming angry about sounds he felt were coming from his neighbours in the Chapel Allerton area of Leeds, West Yorks. 

On Thursday Robert Galley, for the prosecution, told the court Birch had « made calls or shouted abuse » during a string of incidents between August and September 2022.

The Yorkshire Post reports Birch wrote messages saying he would « stab the lot » and that he was « going to go down there and break some legs ». 

According to the publication on one occasion Birch was « alleged to have waved a spade » around at the neighbours he believed were the source of his irritation. 

The court heard Birch also became aggressive towards a police call handler when he was told noise complaints were not something the force could deal with. 

Defending Ryan Wilson said Birch « fully accepts his actions and behaviours » and that they stemmed from « stress that he was unable to deal with ».

Mr Wilson added that Birch and his neighbours now « go out for meals together » and are on « best friend terms ». 

Sentencing Birch, Mr Recorder Mark McKone KC said: « You need to learn that if you have disagreements with your neighbours then you have to deal with that differently. »

Birch pleaded guilty to the two charges of harassment. He sentenced him to a one-year community order and to 20 days of rehabilitation.

Humans have used spade-like tools for digging for millenia with early prehistoric examples often being carved from animal bone.

After the emergence of metal working, spades were often moulded with a sharpened piece of metal on the tip for puncturing the surface of the earth, as opposed to the flat end of a shovel. 

In ancient China the blade of a spade was used as a form of currency under the Zhou Dynasty from around 1,000 BC, with a miniaturised version later adopted for payment. They were phased out under the Qi Dynasty and replaced with coins in around 220BC.  


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