A COUNCILLOR has spoken of her relief after a judge convicted George Reynolds of harassing her earlier this year.

Durham County Councillor Heather Smith phoned the police after the 83-year-old turned up at her house shouting at her before following the the visit up with two letters.

The councillor had objected to a planning application submitted by the defendant to build holiday pods in Toft Hill, near Bishop Auckland.

Judge Tim Capstick found Reynolds guilty of harassment without violence at Teesside Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday despite him denying the charges throughout the trial.

Speaking after the hearing Cllr Smith said: “I am relieved by the outcome and I feel like it was entirely correct.

“It does seem to be open season on councillors and politicians of all sorts at the moment and it seems to be getting steadily worse.

“No end of people have said to me that this sort of thing has happened to them. The restraining order is very clear and hopefully that should protect me in the future.”

Judge Capstick handed Reynolds a £600 fine and told him: “I have no doubt that you have led a very full and colourful life.

“It’s a sad day when an 83-year-old man is charged with an offence such as this, but it comes as a result of your own actions and you have brought all of this on yourself.

“Somehow you felt justified doing and saying what you did simply because she [Cllr Smith] is a county councillor.

“Can I make it clear that you live in a democratic society and she was doing what she was meant to do as a county councillor.

“For you to behave as you did and write the things you did was wholly unjustified.

“All because you did not like the fact that she had objected to your application.

“And I expect that that’s because that is how you may have behaved at a previous time, you think you have Carte Blanche.

“You should be thoroughly ashamed of the way you behaved to this lady.”

The former Darlington Football Club chairman said afterwards: “I accept the conviction, you have to accept it at the end of the day, at least it’s cleared the air now.

“But I don’t feel ashamed, why should I feel ashamed? Do you think she feels ashamed for how she’s treated me for the last five months?

“I have had five months of aggro from this lady, ringing the police all the time, but nobody wants to talk about that.

“It’s not a sad day for me, there’s a lot more going on apart from this.”

Reynolds, of Monument Court, Neville’s Cross, Durham, was also ordered to pay £620 costs and a £60 victim surcharge.