A transgender couple who were subjected to a campaign of harassment have won damages from the council after defamatory comments were published on its website.
According to The Telegraph, the women, who live in a rural village outside Southampton, have had their property repeatedly targeted by vandals who, on one occasion, caused £12,000 worth of damage.
The couple installed CCTV cameras but were then told by Test Valley Borough Council that they must apply for retrospective planning permission after the council received letters from neighbours objecting to the cameras.
The council published many of the letters on its website, which included claims concerning young children playing outside and in neighbouring gardens.
One of the letters was so libellous that the council paid the women £5,000 in damages after they took the authority to court.
One of the women told The Telegraph: ‘The abuse had just escalated. It’s been awful. All we want is to live a quiet life.
‘We have had stink bombs thrown at our car, paint and condoms thrown, our garage door dented with pellet bullets, cars parked in such a way that it is impossible to get into our car… the police say they can’t do anything as there is no evidence it’s a hate crime but it’s pretty obvious why this is happening.
‘We are both transgender. That is really the only difference between us and other people. Our solicitor described it as a witch hunt.’
A council spokesperson said: ‘The council inadvertently published a third party letter on its website which contained libellous content relating to a planning application.’