A DARLINGTON police officer accused of throwing cat faeces, chilli powder and grapes into her neighbour’s garden and posting letters through her door claiming she was faking her disability, has been found not guilty of harassment over a six year period.

Mishbha Yakub, 51, a Durham Constabulary officer, who is currently off work because of illness, denied harassing a neighbour between 2012 and 2018 by sending her numerous ‘abusive’ notes, revving a car aggressively, and sending aggressive letters via recorded delivery.

She appeared for trial before magistrates in Teesside yesterday.

During the hearing, her solicitor Simon Walker told magistrates that a conviction could 'end' his clients career with the police.

He said: "This is a case that should never have been brought to court, if she was not a serving police officer this would not have been happening.

"The claims that the campaign was due to the neighbour's disability are ridiculous, repugnant and strenuously denied."

Ms Yakub, from Stockton, did not deny throwing the cat excrement into her neighbour’s garden but defended her actions as she feared the faeces could aggravate her daughter’s medical condition.

The row centred on Ms Yakub’s belief that the neighbour’s cats were using her vegetable patch as a toilet.

The defendant denied putting grapes or chilli powder, which can be poisonous to cats, over her neighbour’s fence.

The alleged victim, who suffers from chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia, said she was ‘scared’ of her neighbour and following numerous letters through her postbox, and some left on her garden gate, she locked up her letterbox to prevent any further correspondence.

Giving evidence, she said she moved in to the property in 2012 and her sister received a note on her car on the very first day she lived there.

She said: “The note said that my sister’s registration had been taken and that she should not park there again. My sister was parked over my garage. There are no designated car parking places on the street.”

Notes later started to be posted through the neighbour’s letterbox asking her to pick up the ‘cat s***’ from Ms Yakub’s garden and she said she saw her neighbour putting items over her fence, so that soon her path was covered in cat faeces and mud, as well as chilli powder, grapes and orange peel.

She reported the matter to the local antisocial behaviour team and began to keep a record of matters.

Later, when finding out Ms Yakub was a Durham police officer, she contacted her employers and asked them to do something about it.

She said: “I was told that she would be officially warned by her sergeant to stop. The behaviour stopped for approximately six months.”

Later the letters started again – about one every eight weeks – and she also said Ms Yakub stared at her out of the window and on one occasion revved her engine aggressively outside her house while Ms Yakub’s daughter delivered another note.

She said: “The notes made me feel anxious and scared because there has been incidents where she was revving her car outside my house, while putting a note on the gate and one through the door. It was making me scared to go out when she was.”

The neighbour eventually went to a mediator on the advice of police but did not want to meet Ms Yakub face to face. Instead she agreed, through the mediator, to pay for cat repellent for Ms Yakub’s garden and said she would allow the cat faeces to be put in her bin.

She told the court she had a bad flare up of fibromyalgia at the time and was unable to physically pick up the faeces from Ms Yakub’s garden herself.

The only time the pair actually spoke face to face was when Ms Yakub accidentally crashed her car into her neighbour's garage and passed on her insurance details. Ms Yakub’s car had to be removed from the garage by the fire brigade.

In her evidence, Ms Yakub strenuously denied that allegations and maintained that she only sent the letters because her neighbour failed to respond to any of her concerns.

Explaining the concern for her daughter, she said: "If she got an infection, I would have had to take her back to hospital and she had already been there often enough and she was getting fed up of going."

During cross examination, Ms Yakub accepted that her neighbour had provided some cat repellent but believed she could have done more to prevent her cats from soiling in her garden.

Following a five-hour trial, magistrates cleared her of harassment.

Alan Duckling, the chairman of the bench, said: “We find you not guilty of harassment. We believe your actions were reasonable and a reasonable person would not have found them to be harassment.”