AN ISLAND crofter is seeking financial compensation of over £20,000 from her former neighbours whose bull broke through her fence and impregnated one of her pedigree Highland cattle.

Crofter Kathleen Allen (71) and her husband Bernard, of Kirkibost, Great Bernera, Lewis, have raised a civil action at Stornoway Sheriff Court against David and Janine Hargreaves, the former tenants of the neighbouring croft.

It is alleged that a Belted Galloway bull owned by Mr and Mrs Hargreaves was responsible for causing damage to fencing, compromising the high-health status of the herd and leaving them with one Belted Galloway calf.

Mr and Mrs Allen set up their pedigree Highland herd in 2006 at crofts 18 and 19 Kirkibost, but in 2009 they noticed the bull in with their cows.

Mrs Allen told Stornoway Sheriff Court that from that point on it was a daily battle to try and keep the bull away. The matter was only resolved, the court heard, when the Allens erected a two-metre high fence between the crofts.

Under questioning from the Hargreaves advocate, Stewart Buchanan, Mrs Allen said from June 2009 to August 2010 she "called the police approximately 30 times" and on one occasion "referred it to the anti-social behaviour unit". Asked by Mr Buchanan what the response of the police was, she said they told her "as it was not a criminal matter they had no jurisdiction over the bull being on the croft".

Mrs Allen told the court said the matter had been an "absolute nightmare" and she hadn't the words to describe the stress. She insisted the owners of the bull had refused repeated demands to remove the animal.

David and Janine Hargreaves, who now live in Ardgay, Sutherland, deny any wrong-doing and claim that it was the responsibility of the Allens to ensure their fences were stock-proof.

Mrs Allen said that when she and her husband decided to set up their herd the Hargreaves kept their cows and bulls a distance away on another croft.

The compensation claim also includes the cost of the extra feed required by Mrs Allen when she was forced to pen her cows to keep them away from the bull and the cost involved in transporting them to other crofts. The case continues.