Autistic man's help labelled 'criminal damage'

Adam Myers next to the tidied up hedge with a 40mph speed limit sign and the road in the background
Adam Myers decided to tidy up the area after seeing a social media post [Ian Myers]

A young man's help cutting a grass verge has been criticised as "criminal damage" on social media by some members of his local parish council, upsetting his family and residents.

Adam Myers, who is 22 and has autism, spent about six hours tidying up grass and a hedge that had grown over a pavement in Broughton Moor in West Cumbria, his father said.

Ian Myers said the criticism was the first comment under Adam's social media post of a "before and after" picture and had affected his confidence.

Broughton Moor Parish Council, which has received a backlash online, announced on its website it had disbanded but declined to comment further.

Adam cleaned the overgrown vegetation with household gardening tools after seeing posts from residents expressing concern over safety.

Mr Myers said his son was "very community spirited" and helping others gave him a "a great deal of confidence".

However, despite the majority of comments being very positive, the criticism had upset him, he said.

Overgrown grass on the path before Adam cleaned it
Mr Myers said it was difficult to walk on the path because of the overgrown grass [Ian Myers]

Mr Myers said the "ill-judged" comment called it "a criminal act, to trim the hedges and grass verges".

"That comment really dented his confidence because he was expecting some praise," he said.

"He was expecting people to be thankful and, yet, comment number one on there was something quite negative.

"Unfortunately, with Adam being autistic, he focuses in on that negative comment and it is very, very difficult for him to see beyond that."

Cumbria Police said it had received two reports about the grass cutting, but no further action would be taken as it was a civil matter.

In a statement posted on its website the parish council said: "Following an orchestrated campaign of bullying and abuse, both online and in person, against the members of the parish council and the clerk, Broughton Moor no longer has a Parish Council."

It added Cumberland Council would take over the governance of the village.

The local authority said it was aware of the resignations, but the parish council remained a legal entity and continued to exist.

"Cumberland Council will co-opt some of our own councillors onto the parish council to ensure that the council is quorate and can carry out its functions until other individuals can be co-opted, and an election held,” a spokesperson added.​

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