A topless man who tried to stop his friend’s hire car from being overturned by a farmer in a digger has said he is ‘lucky not to have any broken bones’.
Video posted online yesterday showed Charlie Burns, 20, kicking farmer Robert Hooper’s tractor as he flipped the Vauxhall hatchback onto its side before dumping the vehicle down a country road after reportedly being ‘driven mad’ by local thugs.
The apprentice diamond driller and his pals had been on a day trip from Tyneside to High Force waterfall in Teesdale, County Durham, when the Vauxhall Corsa suffered a blow out.
The yellow forklift, operated by an as yet unconfirmed driver, came speeding down the drive towards the car past a stunned Mr Burns who was standing next to the car.
With its forks lowered the machine picked up and flipped the Corsa before pushing it out onto the B6277 road.
Video posted online yesterday showed the man kicking the farmer’s tractor as he flipped the Vauxhall hatchback onto its side. New footage that emerged today shows the same man talking to two officers who had arrived at the scene (left). At one point he moons at the camera (right)
Throughout the manoeuvre Mr Burns tried to stop the destruction by flinging himself at the cab of the vehicle and kicking its tyres.
Video posted online yesterday showed Charlie Burns (pictured), 20, kicking farmer Robert Hooper’s tractor as he flipped the Vauxhall hatchback onto its side before dumping the vehicle down a country road after reportedly being ‘driven mad’ by local thugs
After turning away from the car the forklift then spun around and its tines appear to clip his lower legs, knocking him to the ground.
New footage that emerged today shows the same man talking to two officers who had arrived at the scene following the incident at around 5pm on Saturday.
At one point he says ‘f*****g farmers’ as he pulls down his trousers and exposes his backside to the camera.
The group deny claims of ‘yobbish’ behaviour and say they parked the Corsa on Mr Hooper’s drive so that it wasn’t blocking the winding country road past Brockersgill Farm, Newbiggin, County Durham.
Mr Burns has since been off work and says he is having difficulty walking after suffering severe bruising to both legs.
He said: ‘I was lucky not to have any broken bones, it hit me hard and knocked me to the ground.
‘A lot of people have been suggesting we must have been doing something wrong for him to have reacted like that but we weren’t.
‘I’m due to give a witness statement to the police in two days and have been asked not to say anything, so I’m not going to say anything more for now.’
A source close to the group said: ‘They were just a bunch of young lads on a day out, the car had a blowout and they got it out of the road. What else were they suppposed to do?
‘Everybody understands that people in the countryside get fed up with tourists and cars being parked all over the place, but what happened was a total over reaction.
‘It wasn’t even the lad’s car, it was a courtesy car because his had been in an accident.’
Mr Hooper declined to comment at his farm today. But on Monday a female family member claimed there had been an assault on someone from the farm in the incident leading up to the car being trashed.
She would not confirm who was at the wheel of the forklift at the time.
These people parked their car on the drive to the farm and we’re asked numerous times, very politely, to move,’ she said.
She added: ‘The outcome was what happened and what everyone us now seen but there was a lot before that. Locals here are sick of youths coming into the area in cars.
‘There were cars being raced along the road just before the incident, which was extremely dangerous.’
She declined to say who was driving the forklift vehicle and added ‘it is a criminal matter now, so I’m not saying anything more.’
A shirtless man – believed to be the owner – tried to remonstrate with the digger driver
A source told MailOnline that the tractor was driven by a farmer who was angry at local ‘ruffians’ parking their car in his drive.
‘The lads had parked their car onto his drive,’ the source said. ‘He asked them to move but they didn’t seem to want to obey.
‘He had no choice but to take matters into his own hands and remove the ruffians from his property himself.’
Friend Mark Nicholson said the farmer had been ‘driven mad by these lot’ with anti-social behaviour leaving him at ‘the end of his tether’.
Durham Constabulary confirmed they had been called out to the incident just after 5pm on Saturday.
The car driver seemed to kick the farm machinery as the penny dropped as to the situation
The motorist was filming what was happened on his phone as the car was suddenly tipped up
A police spokesman told MailOnline: ‘We were alerted to reports of an incident at a farm in the Teesdale area shortly after 5.45pm on June 5.
‘Officers attended the scene and an investigation into the circumstances is ongoing.’
It is understood that no arrests have been made over the shocking fracas.
There were further claims yesterday the farmer may have been the victim of repeated anti-social behaviour.
It was said the youths had subjected him to fires on his land as well as property damaged.
Dairy farmer Mark Nicholson said: ‘A lot more to this story, he’s a friend of a colleague, he’s been driven mad by these lot, starting fires, pushing walls over just to name a few things, not saying it’s right but they pushed him to the end of his tether.’
Charlie Finnerty, of Rochdale, Gtr Mancs also posted the video yesterday on Sunday on Facebook and it has already racked up over one million views.
BBC Radio 2 host Jeremy Vine tweeted the video and said: ‘Driver has blocked farm gate with his car.
‘Motorist has smartphone. Farmer has forklift. Who’s gonna win this one?’
He said: ‘Wow, don’t park in front of farmer’s gates.’
However, the farmer’s actions divided opinions.
The tiny silver hatchback was scooped up by the telehandler and flipped over in the video
The car was tumbled down the street with the farm machinery as the incident unfolded
The driver seemed to be in utter disbelief as the farm machine came to a stop after the lift
The lifter driver then calmly went back to the land, leaving the car in the middle of the road
Mary Harris joked: ‘I love the way the farmer looks right to check no oncoming vehicles before pulling out.’
Mike Hillen said: ‘There was an easier solution to this, farmer should have chained and padlocked his gate closed.
‘Stopping the car from leaving then waited for car owner to knock on his door, he could of then charged him whatever amount to open the gate.
‘No court, no lawyer bills.’
Thomas Williams added: ‘As satisfying as it is to see someone who is clearly pondlife get his just desserts.
‘This is definitely criminal damage and perhaps even GBH when he hits him with the vehicle.’
But one cyclist – called Hannah – said: ‘I fully condone this.
‘Well done farmer for getting rid of this car in front of his gate.’