NOISY neighbours are driving people out of their own homes and leaving others stressed and exhausted.
All-night parties, barking dogs and alarms are just some the menaces being reported to Wakefield Council up to ten times a day.
In one bizarre case the council’s noise abatement team dealt with tenants who were forced to move out of a home because their neighbours were deliberately playing loud recordings of train sounds through the wall 24 hours a day.
Gary Blenkinsop, the council’s environmental health manager, said some offenders seemed unaware of the distress they were causing but others acted maliciously.
He said: “With the case of the train noise it’s hard to understand what is going through their minds.
“But the first thing we do is encourage neighbours to sort their problems out civilly, and more often than not they do that and it never reaches the prosecution stage.”
The night-time noise team, which responds to noise complaints every weekend between 8pm and 2am, dealt with more than 1,800 calls last year.
Noise and nuisance officer Jim Newham, who visits homes across the district on Friday and Saturday evenings, said there was an increasing trend of people having parties at home.
He said: “With people strapped for cash and pubs closing, they are more likely to drink and party at home.
“Often when we turn up at a property people haven’t realised what the time is or how loud they were being. The more people drink the louder the music tends to get.”
Mr Newham said with summer approaching, the team was expecting more calls.
He said: “In the lighter evenings people are more likely to have parties outdoors.
“Also, pubs and clubs are more likely to have doors and windows open which means the noise is more of a problem for people living nearby.”
Almost a quarter of the complaints received by the team are about barking dogs. Mr Newham said many owners needed to be convinced that their dogs were causing a problem.
He said: “Dogs have a pack mentality so often they will get anxious when their owner leaves and that’s when they start barking.
“Many owners insist their dogs aren’t barking but it’s because they only bark when they are out. We work with dog owners and offer them guidance to try and help them control their dog.”
Mr Newham said noisy people could have a serious impact on their neighbours’ lives.
He said: “It is not uncommon to visit a complainant who is incredibly upset and in tears, particularly if they have had to put up with the noise for quite a while.
“Many people lose sleep and are worried it will affect their performance at work.”
Offenders can then be liable to pay fines of up to £5,000 and have their sound equipment seized.
Urgent noise complaints can be made 24 hours a day by calling the council’s contact centre on 0845 850 6506.