A SUBURBAN couple waged a campaign of intimidation against their pensioner neighbours after a parking row escalated.

This pair of neat front gardens in a sleepy Woodingdean cul-de-sac look the picture of suburban harmony but behind the twitching curtains the two couples were at war.

Jason and Linda Howick, both 48, terrorised pensioners Patricia and Richard Hook by staring over the garden wall, parking in front of their drive and entering their garden in the middle of the night to bang on their bedroom window.

Prosecutors said the neighbours fell out over parking and tensions escalated. Brighton Magistrates’ Court ruled on Monday that there was “no reasonable explanation” for the Howicks’ behaviour and imposed a restraining order banning them from talking to their neighbours in Hylden Close.

Mrs Hook, 65, said the harassment had left her scared and suffering from panic attacks

The court was told heating engineer Mr Howick deliberately parked his van close to the Hooks’ drive, blocking them in and causing them inconvenience.

On one occasion Mrs Howick, the director of a curtain and blind company, stood on her front lawn staring at Mrs Hook saying “I’m looking at you”.

Another time she chased her neighbours’ camper van down the A27, beeping her horn.

The Howicks claimed the Hooks were setting off alarms and putting out their bins in the middle of the night, so they decided to confront them by climbing into their garden and knocking on their windows and banging glass bottles together at 3am while still in their dressing gowns.

The couple denied harassing their neighbours, claiming they were provoked and trying to resolve the dispute but magistrates dismissed their excuses.

Chairman of the bench John Kirby said: “There was no reasonable explanation for you doing this other than to annoy and intimidate Mr and Mrs Hook.”

They were sentenced to complete 100 hours of community service each and given a restraining order banning them from talking to the Hooks, parking within five metres of their drive or entering their property.