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Tuesday, 16 September 2014

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Happy ending for grandad’s fairytale

A GRANDAD is “so relieved” police have dropped charges against him following months of turmoil.

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Relieved: Jim Higgins has had the charges against him dropped

By Lucy Grosvenor

In April, Jim Higgins, of Moor Row, started to tidy up an overgrown section of the cycle track near his house.

The pensioner removed a stretch of metal railings – for which he was arrested. He also cut back brambles and is the creator of the path’s latest attraction – Fairyland – which has seen hundreds of children flock to the area looking for the fairy folk.

“The cycle track deserves to look nice and be used,” he said

“I am just trying to make people happy. When you see the kids faces light up with joy when they see the fairies, it is worth it.”

Charity Sustrans which owns the track, which is part of the Coast to Coast route, reported 130m of railings missing.

Police then arrested Mr Higgins.

However, the community rallied together and a petition of nearly 650 signatures called for police to stop their investigations.

On Tuesday Mr Higgins received a phone call saying no further action would be taken against him.

The retired police officer said: “I am so relieved this nightmare is over. I thought I was doing something good for the area, it was just an mess to look at.

“However the police made me so worried about what would happen to me I haven’t been eating or sleeping and I have gone from 20 stone down to 16 since this started.”

Whilst the community was enjoying Fairyland his wife asked him to take a step back from the project for fear he would get into any more trouble.

Sarah Roe, North West press officer for Sustrans, said: “We were a little surprised to find out about Fairyland as no one told us about it but it’s good to see people coming out to enjoy our cycle route and there are no plans to close down Fairyland.”

The charity has now put warning signs on the track advising cyclists to go slower on the approach to the magical village.

Have your say

Is it really true that 130 metres of railing disappeared or should it be 130 cm? This report is good news but what happened to the initial complaint - was it false and how come it took so long to drop the case? It could be you or me next with some daft made-up accusation.

Posted by John on 19 July 2014 at 21:38

Instead of charges being brought against Mr. Higgins, I would think he should be nominated for some sort of community award, and I sincerely hope this happens. It also illustrates the amount of stress that can be caused by the police on people without real justification. A bit of communication and common sense would have prevented Mr. Higgins going through what he has (although the weight loss may be the silver lining in the cloud!).

Posted by David Scameron on 19 July 2014 at 14:23

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