Len claims TV show truce was a sham
By Jon Austin
A TELEVISION show truce between a householder and travellers camped at the bottom of his garden has been branded a sham.
At War with Next Door, aired on Channel Five last week, showed former UN negotiator Colonel Bob Stewart ending a long-running feud between Len Gridley and travellers' leader Kathleen McCarthy.
But Mr Gridley, of Oak Road, Crays Hill, said: "Saying it has fixed things is rubbish."
"Basildon Council still comes once a week to remove rubbish in the road and car horns are as bad as ever.
"I apologised for calling them scum in the programme, but got no apology for their death threats.
"Things got quieter, but only when most of them were away in Spain and France."
Filmed over three months last year, the documentary, narrated by Dermot O'Leary, ended on Col Bob declaring: "Mission accomplished!"
He said: "The local communities are talking to each other and both communities now trust each other.
"Both sides are pleased and tooting and flytipping are down 75 per cent."
Before a tense head-to-head meeting, Mr Gridley revealed years of misery and three burglaries brought him close to suicide, he has firearms he is prepared to use and claims the site would be "blown up" if anything happened to him.
Mrs McCarthy described him as a "bitter, spiteful, lonely" man who takes his anger out on travellers.
The pair eventually agreed a solution and Mr Gridley visited the site before a four-point improvement plan was drawn up, involving swapping phone numbers, a media blackout, creating a no man's land between Mr Gridley's back fence and home and travellers banning flytipping, speeding and car horns.
Mrs McCarthy said: "I feel as though things have got better.
"I have Len's phone number and he has mine to phone if there are any problems, but he has never called, so everything must be OK."
Mrs McCarthy believes the programme has helped.
She added: "I have seen Len several times since and he seems happy as a lord.
"If rubbish has increased, it is not down to us.
"It is flytippers trying to give us the blame. We are trying to get permission to stay, so why would we risk it by causing problems?"
4:25pm Thursday 21st December 2006