Homeowner who set up green light outside his house fined £332

Furious homeowner who set up a fake green traffic light outside his house in an attempt to confuse drivers and stop them crashing into his £600k Tudor-style home is fined £332 for causing a public nuisance

  • Wayne Earl, 62, erected fake traffic light on the porch of his Tudor-style house 
  • He claimed it was put up to ensure that drivers saw his porch and didn’t hit it
  • However, police said he deliberately tried to confuse drivers in a dangerous spot
  • Mr Earl was fined £332 after he admitted to causing a public nuisance over light 

A homeowner who erected a fake green traffic light outside his home in an attempt to confuse drivers and stop them damaging his property near a crossing junction has been fined £332 for causing a public nuisance. 

Wayne Earl, 62, became frustrated after forking out thousands repairing damage to his £600k Tudor-style house, a Grade II listed former toll house in Upton Lovell, Wiltshire. 

Mr Earl’s house in the village, where property prices average £600,000, sits on crossroads of the A36 and Manor Road where there have been fatal road traffic collisions.

He said that his home had been damaged by lorries and cars reversing at the crossroads and so he put up the light so drivers could ‘see his porch’.

However, locals complained and police accused Mr Earl of deliberately trying to confuse motorists about the traffic light sequence ‘on a junction which had previously seen serious injury and fatal road traffic collisions’. 

Mr Earl admitted a charge of causing a public nuisance and was fined £150. He was also ordered to pay £150 in costs and a £32 surcharge for a total of £332.

The green light outside Wayne Earl’s Tudor-style house which was shown as evidence in court

The junction outside Wayne Earls house, with his light directly between two traffic lights on the crossing

But after they approached Mr Earl it was three months before he switched it off.

As a result, the 62 year old, who said other villagers objected to the light, was charged with causing a public nuisance and hauled before magistrates in nearby Salisbury.

Prosecuting, Ryan Senevirante, told the court: ‘A police officer saw lights signalling from the area outside his house that looked as though they could be mistaken for traffic lights.

‘The green lights were similar in size and shape to traffic lights and in a position that they would be likely to cause confusion to road users and potentially cause road traffic accidents.’

Defence lawyer Trevor Line explained Mr Earl set up the light after his porch had been damaged on several occasions by passing vehicles and even demolished by a lorry.

Mr Line told magistrates: ‘He was fearful that the next time it might be his house so he put up a light so vehicles could see the porch.’

However, Sergeant Kevin Harmsworth, of Wiltshire Police, said Mr Earl’s light ‘posed a considerable danger’ and caused locals ‘a huge amount of frustration’.

Wayne Earl arriving at Salisbury Law Court where he admitted causing a public nuisance

He said: ‘The installation of these green lights, directly in line with a traffic light junction, caused a huge amount of frustration and concern amongst the local community and the local policing team, due to the potential danger they posed.

‘We are in no doubt that these green lights posed a considerable danger to road users, as they appear to have been deliberately placed to confuse motorists about the traffic light sequence on a junction which had previously seen serious injury and fatal road traffic collisions.

‘We made repeated attempts to liaise with Mr Earl, including serving both a Community Protection Warning and a Community Protection Notice, ordering him to either turn off or take down the green lights.

‘Unfortunately, he failed to adhere with these orders and we had no choice but to pursue prosecution.’

The court heard the traffic lights at the crossroads went up in 2015 and the first official complaint the self-employed carpenter’s green light came in 2019.

At Salisbury Magistrates Court, Mr Earl was fined £150 after pleading guilty to causing a public nuisance.

Presiding Justice Mrs Hatty Stafford-Charles said: ‘We accept you put on those lights quite a long time before anyone came and complained about them however clearly the lights were misleading as we saw from the photograph and you did not remove them until January.’

Speaking after the court case, Mr Earl – who has lived in the house for 24 years – said: ‘One lorry was turning up the lane opposite and could not make the turn so reversed and demolished the wall and the porch.

Police accused Mr Earl of deliberately trying to confuse motorists about the traffic light sequence

‘The damage cost me thousands to repair.

‘It was after that I decided to put the light up so the porch could be seen by people driving past.

‘There had also been a few other times drivers had knocked the porch and caused some damage.’

He said he originally fitted a white light but changed it after someone told him bright white light was bad for the local bats.

He claimed other villagers had said ‘untrue’ things in their statements to police and the case should have never gone to court.

‘There are a couple of people in the village who made statements which are untrue which then gave the police a case against me,’ he added.

‘This should never have gone this far and was stupid to have gone to court.’ 

He had faced three charges of failing to comply with a community protection notice but these were dismissed after he admitted the charge of causing a public nuisance. 

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