Man arrested, forced to give DNA sample after spraying neighbour with water hose
Financial adviser arrested and forced to give DNA sample after spraying neighbour with garden hose
Last updated at 18:02pm on 21st March 2008
A man was given a police caution for spraying a neighbour with his garden hose in a row over gardening.
Bob Cornwall was questioned for three hours and had his fingerprints and a DNA sample taken after he squirted water at John Tait.
The 42-year-old financial adviser was washing his car with his five-year-old son Reece when Mr Tait complained that he had dumped some branches in his garden.
Mr Cornwall said: "He was angry, red-faced and shouting. I told him initially to go away and stop shouting but then he started calling me names in front of my son so I flicked the hose at him.
"Because I was cleaning my car the setting was only on a light spray so he was hardly drenched.
"I thought that was the end of it all. Within a couple of hours two officers turned up at my door and asked me to make an appointment for what I thought was going to be a chat."
The next day, Mr Cornwall, from Shoreham-by-Sea in West Sussex, went to his local police station.
He recalled: "I went along to Shoreham station where they arrested me and bundled me in the back of a car before taking me five miles down the road to Worthing police station.
"I even said to one of the officers, ‘all I did was spray someone with a hose’ and he replied, ‘so you can confirm you sprayed someone’ and tried to get me to sign a statement.
"In the booth next to me was a drink-driver and I had exactly the same treatment as him, full body search, fingerprints, mugshot and a DNA sample – the whole caboodle.
"Everything was incredibly formal, very stiff and serious, even though they knew all I had done was squirt a bit of water about.
"I was in disbelief that such pettiness had been reacted to with such prompt and firm action."
Mr Cornwall-a father of two, claimed he was pressurised into admitting common assault after an officer compared his offence to pinching a woman’s bottom.
He received a caution and was given a lift home to tell his story to his wife Andrea, 42.
"When Andrea got back from work I said, ‘you’ll never guess what happened to me today’ and she proceeded to laugh."
He added: "I was in an interview room with cameras everywhere. They took a photo and I had to give a tape-recorded statement as well, it took hours.
"The whole thing was a complete waste of time for everyone involved.
"They couldn’t have thought I was a threat, because a policewoman gave me a lift home and we stopped off so I could pick up some milk. It was an amazing contrast to my journey there."
Mr Cornwall added: "’The only thing I can assume is that they are now able to tick a box on their statistics over crime reported and crime dealt with."
Sussex Police confirmed an arrest was made for common assault.
A spokesman said: "Anyone arrested for a recordable offence is finger printed and has their DNA taken.
"Sussex Police takes all offences seriously and will act to ensure that such incidents do not escalate into anything more serious."
Mr Cornwall said that he had avoided Mr Tait since the incident on February 23.
"I haven’t spoken to him," he added. "I think that’s the best plan."
Retired insurance worker Mr Tait, 67, said: "The hosing was deliberate and persistent and done at me. I was soaked. I can’t believe it has come to this."