THE occupier of Hampton Mill has closed the public path running past her home and says she has formally requested that it is permanently rerouted.

It is an issue that has rumbled on for months with paths around the Evesham beauty spot blocked by barbed wire fencing and locked gates, although parts of the right of way were legitimately closed until June 4 for remedial work.

READ MORE: Hampton Mill reopens - but "trouble" could change that

READ MORE: Barbed wire blocks paths around Hampton Mill 

But occupier Frances Payne revealed she had shut the path once again citing vandalism and the “deliberate” releasing of her livestock.

Mrs Payne says she has reported both matters to the police and Worcestershire County Council, the authority in charge of the right of way.

“Someone has come down with bolt cutters, this is not someone who is frustrated and cutting the fence while they are there, they have come down in the middle of the night,” she said.

On the opening of the gate next to her property, which swings shut to stop livestock escaping but had remained unlocked to allow access to the paths, Mrs Payne described a man in his 60s in a red body warmer loitering in the area who was noticed by workers on her land.

“He was the only person not known to me here at the time,” she said.

“I wanted the police to investigate and ask people at the allotment but they haven’t been to collect a statement.

“The sheep ended up on the estate because someone deliberately let them out and I have no choice to do what I am doing.

“If I leave it open and let the sheep end up on the road, it is a legal issue, if I close the path it is a legal issue. The police and council are playing shuttlecocks with me.

“They (the police) keep threatening to prosecute me for the sheep escaping and (the council) for closing the footpath.

“I don’t know what I can do, I think it has got to the point where the council should come and fix it but they have just threatened me that I have to open the path.

“I wouldn’t mind if people got together, spoke to each other and solved the problem instead of threatening me.

“I have had enough now and have put in a request to move the footpath.”

On the public outcry on the impasse, Mrs Payne added: “What can I do?

“They are attacking me and all they are doing is closing the footpath. I don’t see what they are trying to do, I don’t think these people actually want the path open any more.

“If they really wanted it open, would they keep doing this?”

Evesham Journal is awaiting response from Worcestershire County Council and West Mercia Police.