A Ceredigion family who are in a legal dispute with a self-professed ‘land pirate’ say he has brought ‘misery’ to the family and local community.

Ex-Bronglais Hospital nurse Neil Parker moved in and claimed ownership of what he says was an ‘abandoned’ property and plot of land next to the A487 in April last year – prompting a feud with a neighbouring farming family which has attempted to remove him from the site.

Mr Parker says that after ‘years of research’, he occupied the patch of land and has maintained a presence there ever since — and is seeking to invoke adverse possession of the property and claim ownership of it.

According to the Land Registration Act 2002, an unlisted site can fall into someone’s possession after 12 years if they can demonstrate they are present and working on the land. This is distinct from squatting which entails residing on the land.

Speaking to the Cambrian News, member of the family who say the land is theirs, Rhodri Donne said: “As the rightful owners of the land, we’re going through the correct legal process and remain confident of removing Mr Parker by lawful means from land he has no legal or moral claim to.

“Mr Parker has brought misery not only to us as a family but also to the local community and local businesses with his intimidating behaviour. We can’t thank the local community enough for their support over the last few months.

“We will not be making any further comments on this matter until the legal process has been completed.”

Describing the moment he moved on to the land, Mr Parker said: “I found a new access point and I cleared a fallen tree which looked completely overgrown, and I don’t think anybody else realised it would have been that easy.”

He goes on to claim that the following day, a local farmer turned up ‘screaming and kicking things’ which he goes on to describe as ‘it wasn’t pitiful, it was laughable’.

Mr Parker claims he was subjected to a campaign of intimidation from villagers – with horns being sounded as cars drove by and strangers filming him and abusing him as he worked on the land. He also says the farmer dumped silage on the site in a bid to force him away.

He says land ownership comes with a ‘responsibility’ to maintain and provide value to society and local communities – rather than allow properties to fall into disrepair.

He said: “In west Wales we have lots of people doing land-based activities and doing good stuff with land. And the biggest obstacle to that is often that the people who own land won’t allow anything to be done with it. An awful lot of the properties I find that are completely abandoned are farms. Where houses, barns, everything has been left – the farmers just want the land which is all in perfect condition and everything else that’s on it is falling to pieces, falling in ruins.

If the family decides to pursue the case of ownership, it will go before the Land Registry’s First Tier Tribunal which resolves disputes over ownership.