A NEIGHBOUR dispute turned ugly when a frustrated Tranent resident took the law into his own hands and attacked his neighbour’s door with an axe.

Brian Wallbank admitted he had “snapped” after constant noise was coming from an adjoining address on Christmas Eve last year.

Wallbank, of Northfield, had politely asked his neighbour to turn the music down and keep the noise of their guests to a minimum but the neighbour continually refused.

After police had intervened and told the neighbour to quieten down, the disturbing noise started up again with loud music and some guests fighting in the garden.

After hours of partying from the upstairs neighbour, Wallbank grabbed an axe and went to the neighbour’s front door, where he struck it about “eight times” with the sharp implement.

This time the police were called out by the neighbour about 49-year-old Wallbank’s behaviour.

The self-employed farm worker was then arrested and cooperated fully with police after telling them of his frustrations.

At Edinburgh Sheriff Court last Wednesday, Wallbank pleaded guilty to damaging property with the blade but was told by a sheriff his behaviour that day had been “completely understandable”.

And despite him having attacked the door with an axe, Sheriff Nigel Ross was content to hand Wallbank an admonition after he admitted the offence.

Defending solicitor Mary Moultrie said that Wallbank and his wife had stayed at the address for four years and there had been “ongoing difficulties” with the neighbour upstairs from him.

The lawyer said the week previous to the axe attack there had been 20 people partying in the flat upstairs to Wallbank and that rowdy behaviour had led to their front door being damaged.

“The door had been kicked in that night and significant damage to the door had been sustained that night,” Ms Moultrie said.

On the evening of December 23, Wallbank had spoken to his neighbour about the noise level but was eventually forced to call the police at about 2.55am on Christmas Eve.

Police arrived and managed to get the noise level down but as soon as the officers left the music was turned up to full again.

Ms Moultrie added that at about 4.30am more noise was emanating from the upstairs flat and in the morning at 9.30am there was “general mass fighting” in the garden.

Then at about 4pm on December 24, Wallbank again approached his neighbour and asked for some consideration but his pleas for quiet were ignored.

Ms Moultrie said: “They took no notice of the police and at that point he snapped and went to the door and damaged it by repeatedly striking it with an axe.

“The police were called by the neighbour and Mr Wallbank cooperated fully with them.”

The court heard that East Lothian Council had since served an ASBO on the neighbour and that they had “effectively been evicted” from their home.

Sheriff Nigel Ross told Wallbank: “It seems to me that you are otherwise a law-abiding man and who has no previous convictions and who snapped under entirely understandable circumstances.

“Axes are very tricky things to start waving around and you really need to not do that again.

“You have got the message, you are here and this must be a shock to the system.

“I completely understand as to what happened and I feel I can deal with this by an admonition.”

Wallbank admitted behaving in a threatening or abusive manner by shouting, acting in an aggressive manner, kicking a door and repeatedly striking a door with an axe at Northfield on December 24 last year.