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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 March, 2004, 13:59 GMT
Millionaire wins fight over land
David Bell
David Bell said he was relieved after the court ruled in his favour
A millionaire who claimed ownership of a 500 strip of his neighbour's land has won a legal case over the land.

David Bell claimed "squatter's rights" over the bramble patch between the two homes in Cowden, Kent.

The land was registered to neighbour Neville Darby, also a millionaire, who tried to reclaim it by fencing it off.

But Mr Bell proved to Tunbridge Wells County Court he and people who lived in his house before him had tended the land long enough to be given ownership.

Neville Darby
Neville Darby had tried to reclaim the land by fencing it off
The two men first fell out over the patch of land five years ago and the court case is estimated to have cost about 100,000.

The court heard that in 1999 Mr Darby discovered Mr Bell was trying to register the land, claiming it had been looked after by the owners of his house for long enough to be considered part of that property.

Mr Darby attempted to fence it off but his neighbour claimed "adverse possession".

The court heard this meant Mr Bell claimed he had had physical possession and exclusive use of the land since 1972 and that Mr Darby was trespassing on it.

On Wednesday the court ruled in favour of Mr Bell, who said he was "relieved" at the verdict.

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