Poisoned hedge ruins party
The lights are twinkling and Santa is gracing the lawn but a Mt Eden couple’s Christmas spirit has been spoiled.
Chris and Karen Huston say their annual Christmas display was ruined when their front hedge was poisoned.
The couple put on an extravagant display every year, and hold a party for the neighbours and give out presents to local children on Christmas Eve.
"We’re still going to have the party and lights, but as everyone says, it looks ugly and detracts from it," Mr Huston says.
"Everyone who comes by is angry. They all want to know what’s happened to it."
Mrs Huston first noticed part of the hedge was dying in October.
Not long before a man had come to their door to complain that their hedge was growing too far over the footpath.
He said he had nearly been hit by a car while avoiding two women with prams because the path was too narrow.
"He told us to cut down the hedge. I told him to be more careful and go to the council if he wanted," says Mr Huston.
Shortly after the hedge began to die.
Mrs Huston was so upset by the incident, she is afraid to be at home alone for long periods of time.
"We’ve been here since 1999 and have never had any problems. The hedge is always nice because we are proud house owners and we like it to look good.
"Every weekend we’re out in the garden," she says.
"Trying to regrow it is probably not an option," says Mr Huston.
"We can’t afford a stone wall and a wooden fence would look terrible with the house. We don’t know what to do."
He says another resident living not far from their property on Mt Eden Rd received a letter saying if they did not cut back their hedge, it would be sprayed with defoliant.
Both households reported the incidents to police.
Mrs Huston says they are planning to move away from the area.
Last year she was mugged in St Lukes, and the hedge poisoning is the last straw.
"I don’t want to live here anymore."
Acting community constable Phillip Crowley says he is investigating but needs information from the public.
A man has been spoken to who denies the offence.
"Short of a member of the public seeing someone spraying the hedges, there are no strong leads."
He says the Hustons are putting out flyers, asking if anyone saw anything.
"My heart goes out to them, they have a beautiful property," he says.