Police will pay for repairs after Tunstall chase left garden fence destroyed
POLICE have agreed to replace a garden fence which was destroyed as officers chased a suspected burglar through a woman's back garden.
Marie Poole feared she would have to foot the bill for the damage caused in the police pursuit.
New rules on fencing meant the council would not cover the repairs, and Staffordshire Police initially appeared reluctant to fork out the cash.
But now the force has agreed to make a 'gesture of goodwill' and cover the cost, after the police chase ended with the arrest of the suspect.
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The force insists it does not accept responsibility for the damage, but has agreed to cover the cost all the same.
A spokesman said: "Our insurance unit is continuing to liaise with the lady concerned.
"Although we cannot find evidence Staffordshire Police officers caused the damage, as a gesture of goodwill we are in the process of finalising an offer to pay for the damage."
However, Marie,of Furlong Road, Tunstall, said the issue had been resolved after it was highlighted in The Sentinel last month.
The 32-year-old said: "I had an answer machine message from someone who works for the police insurance saying they were willing to pay.
"It's been a long time coming. I'm glad it's going to be sorted out, but it just makes you wonder what would happen if I went and damaged someone's property. I think I'd be expected to pay for it immediately.
"I'm not the only one who this has happened to. One of my friend's fences was damaged the same night."
The trouble began when dozens of officers were chasing a man in Tunstall late on the night of June 27.
The pursuit left Marie's fence in tatters before officers finally found the wanted man hiding in a hedge.
The mother-of-two says because her neighbours own a dog she cannot let her children play in the garden until the fence is replaced.
Marie said: "I didn't even know what had happened at first.
"I just woke up and my fence was destroyed. I spoke to some of the neighbours and they said around 20 police officers were out with sniffer dogs chasing this bloke."
Marie appealed to Stoke-on-Trent City Council but could not reach a solution.
The authority announced a new policy on fence repairs in April. It will now only fix a fence it has installed if it is dangerous, adjoins a public footpath, playing field or garage or is next to a drop of at least two feet.
Police confirmed they have arrested a 20-year-old man and charged him with assault by beating, criminal damage, harassment and obstructing or resisting a constable in the execution of his duty.