He won more money than most people could even dream about, but the Black Country’s biggest ever lottery winner Tom Naylor is not happy – about a 3ft strip of land.
The former lorry driver from Wednesbury scooped a £15.5 million windfall in 2001, but in the past two years he has become embroiled in a bitter boundary dispute with neighbours at his home near Wheaton Aston in Staffordshire.
It has developed into an ugly turf war, which appears to be heading for the court room, as a small community becomes torn apart.
The row centres on a plot of land measuring around three feet by 500 feet which skirts the southern edge of the 58 year old’s £375,000 barn conversion set off the back of the A5.
Sections of the disputed area are owned by three neighbouring businesses, Weston Motor Company, Stafford Motor Homes and Café India, but Mr Naylor is literally staking his claim on the land.
Zillar Rahman, who runs Café India, said the multi-millionaire has driven wooden posts into the ground and erected wire fencing in an effort to claim the ground.
It was a move which, according to Mr Rahman, resulted in the mucky contents from a burst sewerage pipe flooding back onto Mr Naylor’s own land.
“He basically put the fence up on my land because he has got it into his head that he owns it,” said the 39-year-old from Birmingham.
“But when he did it he punctured the cover of a septic tank which caused sewage to pour out everywhere. It is a ridiculous situation.
“I had to take down the fence he put up so I could get the repair work done.
“It has cost me thousands of pounds to fix a problem he caused on my land.”
Mr Rahman said his problems were compounded when he started to receive letters from solicitors representing Mr Naylor demanding compensation.
“I have had seven letters in total, all of them threatening legal action if I don’t put his fence back up or pay him some money.
“The last one came two weeks ago.
“He is asking me to pay him £2,000 compensation for the muck going onto his garden.
“I’ve tried to talk to him about it and even asked him to produce drawings to prove his argument but he won’t even give me the time of day.
“The whole situation is infuriating.”
But Chris Rawlins, whose home is sandwiched in-between Café India and Mr Naylor’s house, said official documents from the Land Registry clearly show who owns the disputed territory.
“You can see from the plans the land does not belong to Mr Naylor,” said the 61-year-old.
“The boundary is a straight line running the length of his property up to Staffordshire Motor Homes.
“He is trying to say there is a dog leg, but the ordnance survey map tells a different story.”
But, according to Mr Naylor, the small scale of the Land Registry plans make it impossible to determine the exact position of the boundary.
“It may look like a straight line on the map, but that’s because the drawings are so small.
“I have photographs showing where the original boundary was and the original owner of the land has backed me up.”
He also insists the damaged pipe work was caused by workmen Mr Rahman employed to raise a manhole cover two years ago.
“The restaurant owner flattened my fence and left my land in a terrible state when he messed around with the manhole,” said Mr Naylor, who admits he still plays the lottery every week.
“It’s quite simple really.
“I want my land back and my fence put back up.
“My solicitor has contacted him but he has stopped responding to the letters, so at this stage it looks like court is the only option available.”
Peter Morrison, who owns Stafford Motor Homes which is based further along the eastern stretch of the disputed site, said he is concerned he could be next on Mr Naylor’s hit list. “At the moment I haven’t heard anything from him, but I’m aware of what is going on with Café India,” said the 54-year-old, who fears his land could be dragged into the dispute next.
It appears this is not the first conflict Mr Naylor has been involved in since he left his former home in the Black Country for the lush South Staffordshire countryside.
Mr Rawlins said he and Mr Naylor were at loggerheads nine years ago when he gained planning permission to use an outbuilding at his farmhouse as an office for his CCTV installation company.
Mr Naylor opposed the proposal, claiming it would lead to an increase in traffic and waste being dumped around his property, but South Staffordshire District Council ruled in favour of Mr Rawlins.
“He wasn’t happy about that, and he’s obviously not happy now,” said Mr Rawlins.