A MAN heaped misery on his former neighbours on an ex-colliery village estate in retribution after being evicted from his home.

Former soldier Paul Clifford Harrisskitt sought his revenge by repeatedly driving up and down streets in Blackhall Colliery at night blaring his car horn, and often throwing fireworks from the car towards the homes of the people he believed had complained about him.

Durham Crown Court heard his campaign of harassment included leaving a threatening note on one resident’s car, in which he urged them to “drop the charges”, as if he went to jail it would be a case of, “burn, baby burn”, implying their vehicle or even house may be set alight.

The court was told one neighbour, who uses a mobility scooter, had pleaded with him to stop his nuisance behaviour much earlier, but he ignored their requests. Chris Baker, prosecuting, said Harrisskitt moved into a flat in Fifth Street, in April last year, and began taking scrap vehicles, which he parked outside in the street.

Complaints over his activities led to him being evicted in the December, but it was after that that his behaviour worsened.

He frequently drove up and down at all times of day and night sounding his horn, and throwing fireworks from his car.

Amid a growing number of further complaints, a police community support officer visited him in March to seize his vehicle, but Harrisskitt made threats to both the officer and to his former neighbours in Blackhall.

Having been arrested and interviewed, he left the note on one former neighbour’s car with the “burn, baby burn” reference, added Mr Baker.

Harrisskitt, 46, of Kingston Court, Haswell, admitted three charges of harassment, plus sending malicious communication and witness intimidation.

Andrew Teate, mitigating, said the former member of the Scot’s Guards, has suffered from mental health issues since he left the Armed Forces, including symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder. But, since his admission to custody, he has taken his correct medication and has been a “model prisoner”.

Harrisskitt was jailed for two years and made subject to an indefinite restraining order to keep away from three named residents.