County Durham vicar hedge dispute assault case dropped

The case against a vicar accused of assault after a row with a neighbour over a hedge has been dropped.

A dispute broke out between Reverend Stuart Bennett and Brian Stokoe after complaints about 20ft (6m) hedges at the vicarage in Castleside, Consett.

Both men were arrested in 2009 by Durham Police but neither was charged.

Mr Bennett was due in court on Monday for a private prosecution but the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) intervened and the case was dropped.

Mr Bennett had been due at Consett Magistrates' Court accused of assault occasioning actual bodily harm.

But a CPS spokesman confirmed it had intervened and the case had been discontinued due to lack of evidence.

He said even though it was a private prosecution, the CPS had the power to intervene.

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