A DISABLED author and his wife allegedly recorded their neighbours' movements 248 times – including 67 in just one day – during an alleged three-year hate campaign, a court heard last week.

David Aston, 55, and wife Jacqueline, 58, are alleged to have terrorised their next-door neighbours by repeatedly filming and photographing them, and making malicious reports to the police.

Mr and Mrs Aston are also said to have spread rumours that one set of residents had abused their children and were dealing drugs from their home at the estate in North Berwick.

Residents told a trial at Edinburgh Sheriff Court that they were left stunned after discovering David Aston had written a novel where a stroke victim called Dave developed superpowers and sought revenge on his neighbours.

Mr Aston, a former chartered accountant, penned A Stroke of Fortune after he suffered serious injuries including brain trauma and a massive stroke following a road crash 10 years ago.

Mr and Mrs Aston are standing trial at the Capital court accused of engaging in a course of conduct that caused three sets of neighbours fear and alarm at their home on Blackadder Crescent, North Berwick, between September 1, 2018, and October 11, 2021.

Resident Marie Bain told the court that living next door to the Astons was “a living hell” and was like living “in a war zone” due to their behaviour towards her and her family.

East Lothian Courier: Witness Marie BainMarie Bain

Mrs Bain, 66, said that she found out her next-door neighbours had made the 248 mobile phone videos and audio recordings during a civil court process brought about by the Astons.

She said that the Astons took her and her husband Robert to court after making “vexatious” complaints to the local authority about her dogs barking excessively.

She said that the recordings were made available to her as part of the evidence and that she was left “horrified” when she realised the extent of the surveillance.

Mrs Bain told the court that the Astons had made 67 video recordings of her family on just one day while she and relatives were celebrating a family birthday in her back garden.

Giving evidence on Friday, she described how Mrs Aston, a qualified nurse, had allegedly breached bail conditions on three occasions by following and approaching her after a court had warned her not to.

The court also heard that Mrs Bain had been arrested herself after her neighbours alleged she had called Mr Aston “a spastic creep” during one confrontation but the charges were dropped.

Mrs Bain had also initially denied calling Mrs Aston “a big lesbian” during another fiery encounter, though phone footage shown to the court proved that she had.

She told the trial she had “no recollection” of making the comment but, after seeing the video, she said she was “shocked” and “must have said it out of frustration”.

The court heard that the civil case concerning the dogs was won by the Bains and the couple were advised by the police and council officials to keep a diary of all the harassment incidents they claimed the Astons were waging against them.

Previously, the trial heard from neighbour Catriona Henderson, 45, who said that she and her partner had also been targeted by the Astons since they moved into the estate.

READ MORECouple’s alleged hate campaign against neighbours

Ms Henderson told the court that she was left “scared and worried” after discovering Mr Aston had written a book featuring a character who developed superpowers and sought revenge on nearby residents.

The high school teacher also told the court that Mrs Aston had made malicious reports to the General Teaching Council of Scotland and the NSPCC claiming she had been abusing her children.

She also said that her neighbours had reported her and her partner to Crimestoppers, claiming they were dealing drugs from their £500,000 four-bedroom family home.

The summary trial, in front of Sheriff John Cook, continues later this month.