A couple who claimed their neighbours’ 40ft trees kept their garden in darkness have lost a 10-year battle to have them cut down.

Gary and Patricia Davidson were locked in a lengthy dispute with next door neighbour John Laing over his overgrown trees and shrubs.

The Davidsons said the hedge in Bearsden, East Dunbartonshire, ruined their family garden by blocking out sunlight.

But Mr Laing said chopping down trees would impact his ‘little oasis’ and claimed the garden supports a large number of birds.

Attempts to resolve the war of words failed and East Dunbartonshire Council was called in to make a ruling.

It ordered Mr Laing to chop down four conifer trees to a maximum height of 12ft but spared two 40ft Norwegian Spruce.

The Davidsons appealed to the Scottish Government in an attempt to reverse that decision but have been told they failed to apply within the correct time limit.

Mr Laing said: “We have complied with the council ruling and have taken down the smaller hedge to 12ft as instructed. There is nothing they can do about the Norwegian Spruce which isn’t part of a hedge but they are entitled to cut it back along the boundary between us.

“I’ve been here for 42 years and have never had a complaint from anyone else apart from them. They don’t like trees and that’s fine but I’m entitled to have them in my garden and enjoy them. We have 25 different types of birds coming to the garden so it is well used for the wildlife.”

The Davidsons had written to council bosses asking for the trees to be cut down.

They said: “This hedge is an oppressive barrier to light in a climate where natural light can be in short supply and even in summer can be scarce. We have spoken with Mr and Mrs Laing at various points over the past 10 years about reducing the height of the hedge.

“Mrs Laing was approached about this matter but she stated that as some of the trees had single stems they would not cut them as they wouldn’t look right. The other trees that form the hedge she said she would not cut as it would mean our pergola roof would be visible from their upstairs room."