It should have been a tranquil spot, where gardeners could relax, swap seeds and gossip.
But veteran veg grower Gilbert Phillips says his plot at a Birmingham allotment site has caused him nothing but heartache and has accused others of bad behaviour.
Now the 81-year-old has won a fight to force police to investigate his complaints over the long-running row at Brownfield Road Allotments in Shard End.
Mr Philips had accused other allotment holders of rule flouting in the squabble.
He wrote letters to West Midlands Police, including three to chief constable Chris Sims, demanding a full inquiry into allegations that he was the subject of a hate campaign by other allotment members. But he claimed his pleas for help were ignored by officers.
The disagreement broke out when the allotment’s three-man committee resigned in 2006 and was replaced by new tenants.
Mr Phillips, a member of the old committee, repeatedly complained about the conduct of officers to the Independent Police Complaints Commission and now it has partially upheld one of his complaints.
The IPCC said West Midlands Police must now look again at complaints about statements attributed to an officer in a letter about Mr Phillips’s claims to the local authority.
However, another allegation about the actions of an officer at a meeting was unable to proceed because it had not been made within a 12-month deadline.
Mr Philips said: “The police pushed my original complaints under the carpet and now I feel vindicated even though I have not had total satisfaction. All this started because the new people wanted me off the allotments but I think after all these years I deserve a bit of respect.
“All I’ve ever tried to do when people have broken the rules is the right thing by reporting it.”
Mr Phillips has held an allotment on the site since 1970 and still tends the plot despite moving away from the area to Coleshill.
The rows began when he did not agree with the behaviour of younger gardeners, who he claimed drove vehicles on the site and lit bonfires.
The pensioner alleged that complaints he made to police and Birmingham City Council led to the situation getting worse.
He claimed his plot and prize-winning produce was damaged. He also said others demanded he quit his plot.
Mr Phillips claimed he was ignored by police and the city council, which labelled the dispute a “petty squabble.”
He even voiced his displeasure to the local government ombudsman but it found the council had not acted incorrectly.
However, scores of man-hours were spent by the police and the authority following up on Mr Phillips’ series of complaints but he was still not satisfied and eventually he called in the IPCC.
The determined pensioner said: “I wrote 40 letters to the police and the council and all I received back was sarcasm. I have been called a lunatic by some people but I never had the chance to defend myself.
“The police and council initially refused to accept their responsibilities that I had a genuine complaint, so I am not going to let this rest. If they think they can solve it with a handshake, they are mistaken. If necessary I will go through the courts.”
Mr Phillips added: “I just want my complaints to be properly recognised. People may question how this has escalated from a row over an allotment, but it is the principle.”
The IPCC said Mr Phillips had made several allegations against West Midlands Police throughout the lengthy saga but most had been dismissed.
A spokesman said: “The IPCC has recently corresponded with the complainant to inform him that we have granted West Midlands Police a dispensation relating to a complaint about an officer’s actions in a meeting on the basis the complaint is out of time.
“We have not granted a dispensation on another complaint about a letter as the complainant has only recently become aware of it and this complaint has not previously been addressed. It will now be for West Midlands Police to contact the complainant to investigate the complaint or attempt to resolve it locally.”
A spokesman for Birmingham City Council said it was aware of the ongoing dispute. He said: “We have been trying to mediate in this matter together with West Midlands Police for some time.”
A Birmingham District Allotments Council spokeswoman said it regretted that Mr Phillips had felt the need to continue with his campaign.
She sadi there was no evidence that a fellow allotment holder his crops.
“Mr Phillips has made many allegations that have not been proven and we don’t think it is worth commenting. We just want it all to go away so we can get on with our allotments and get it sorted for once and for all,” said the spokesman