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Petty parking row costs Brit couple their home and marriage

By Samyuktha

London, Aug 26 (ANI): A trivial parking row outside a couple's home has cost them their house - and their marriage.

Michael and Elaine Smith's nightmare began in June 2008 when they parked a car on land they owned behind their home.

But their neighbours claimed their access was being blocked.

Within days the Smiths received a legal letter demanding they move the car.

They said they were prepared to move the vehicle but were advised not to by a solicitor who said: "It will never reach court".

They heard nothing more until last year when they received a summons to attend Leeds County Court.

The neighbours were accusing mechanic Michael of being a motor trader and claimed they had been deliberately blocked in on numerous occasions.

The Smiths, who did not have legal representation at the hearing, lost the case and were told to pay legal costs and compensation totalling 36,000 pounds.

It left the couple, who had been married 36 years and have four children, facing financial ruin.

They were forced to put their two-bedroom house in Stanley, Wakefield, on the market for 122,000 pounds.

But it did not sell and they were taken back to court.

Earlier this month, possession of the property was handed to their neighbour's solicitor.

"Our relation- ship fell apart. This has destroyed me and my entire family. Before this we had a solid, happy marriage but now we're not living together and barely speak," the Daily Express quoted Elaine, 55, as saying.

Michael, 59, said: "The car was parked on our land but they said it was blocking their right of way. I said I would move it when I'd found somewhere else to put it. The next thing, they'd called in a solicitor. It seems surreal that all this has happened over some- thing so trivial."

The neighbours' solicitor, Peter Lawson, said: "The Smiths brought this all on themselves. This could have been sorted out years ago but they refused to comply. It pains me that I had to take the steps we did, but my clients were very reasonable throughout, so the Smiths have no one to blame but themselves." (ANI)

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