EXCLUSIVE by Wendy Williams
A BRITISH couple have been ordered to court for planting prickly pears in their back garden.
Pensioners Barry and Valerie Kay are baffled after their neighbour denounced them for planting over 100 of the emblematic cacti, introduced into Europe by Christopher Columbus in 1493.
The expats, who live in Periana, were forced to call a translator and later their solicitor, after the neighbour went to the town hall.
The first they heard about the problem was when a team of SIX town hall workers suddenly arrived at their home for ‘an inspection’ last month.
They have since been issued with a court date and ordered to remove the plants – whose fruits were once used by sailors to ward off scurvy.
“It is unbelievably petty and very heavy handed,” Barry Kay, 67, told the Olive Press.
“The neighbour doesn’t even live next door, he just comes up now and again.
“All he has is a few olive trees on his land, I fail to understand the problem.
“And anyway, why didn’t he come and talk to us first?”
The pensioners, who moved to Spain from Huddersfield six years ago, had initially dug them in to combat erosion and protect the top soil.
“They are effectively telling us what plants I can and cannot grow,” said Kay.
“They are on my land, there was no dispute about that, but he insists the prickly pears could spread. It is unbelievable.”
The couple have been so concerned about the demands they have now complied with the order and uprooted their pears.
“We have done it just to keep him quiet but we have still been called to court.
“It is all so incredibly silly.”