A BUSINESSMAN accused of playing loud music to drown out the sound of his neighbours’ crowing cockerel has been cleared of harassment.

Neil Dymott was found not guilty of harassment against Helen Richardson and Paula Holland over noise at their property in Marchwood.

The 56-year-old was accused of playing excessively loud music, including hits by Queen, when the cockerel crowed.

He told Southampton Magistrates’ Court the bird was “crowing all day”.

While he was cleared of two charges of harassment, he was given a restraining order prohibiting him from contacting the complainants directly or indirectly for two years.

Dymott had claimed in court yesterday that the bird would only have been “going off at dawn and dusk” had it been a British cockerel – and not intermittently throughout the day.

Instead the 56-year-old said a local farmer had identified the breed as either a Rhode Island red or Plymouth rock – both American breeds of chicken.

He told the court: “Those cockerels could go off as much as 60 or 70 times an hour. These are not British birds, these are birds going on and on.”

He added: “Once it started it would crow, then go quiet for a couple of seconds, and then crow. It would be intermittent crows.

“You could have a part where it was lovely and quiet for an hour or two. Other times that would not happen, it would just continue.

“If this was a British cockerel going off at dawn and dusk, we would not be here.”

Dymott, of Marchwood, had been accused of harassing lesbian neighbours Helen Richardson, 52, and Paula Holland, 62, after the couple, who had hens, hatched the cockerel.

Southampton Magistrates Court had heard he would play loud music – often Radio 2 or hits by the band Queen – from a Jaguar car when the cockerel crowed.

He was accused of telling them to ‘shut that cockerel up’ and played the 60s hit When a Man Loves a Woman loudly when the bird crowed.

He was also alleged to have come onto their property and into their garden, taking photos of their home.

But Dymott told the court he had managed to take a photo of what he believed was the cockerel – after November 2015 when the couple claim their last cockerel died.

Dymott said: “It could start as early as 4-4.30am and could go on until 10pm.

“We stopped having our windows open at the front of the property – the bedroom is at the front so we had to shut our windows. It was very loud.”

The court heard Dymott wrote to the council complaining about the noise and asked if there was anything that could be done to stop it.

The council responded, saying they would investigate. Following monitoring by the environmental health department at New Forest District Council, no further action was taken.

He added: “I have shouted ‘shut the cockerels up’ and ‘keep the birds quiet’ and that is the extent of what I have done.

“I have not made any threats.”