A woman said an instance of mistaken identity saw her mixed up in the crossfire of a “never-ending hate campaign” against her neighbour.
It resulted in paint being tossed all over her much-loved convertible Volkswagen Beetle car.
She was parked in her typical spot, and it was thought she might have been mistaken for her neighbour’s car, when she was targeted by an anonymous attacker.
The 59-year-old mum said her neighbours experienced multiple instances of vandalism on their vehicles and home in the last six months, due to an unresolved argument.
She thinks the culprit accidentally thought her car belonged to one of her neighbours, as it was parked near other vehicles.
The intended victim’s name was written on the bonnet.
Ingrid, who was due to go on holiday the day after the incident, said she was forced to immediately fork out to get a specialist to remove the paint, or her car would have been written off.
She expected total costs to add up to £1,000.
The prison custody officer said she now lives in fear that her car will be targeted again in the ‘never-ending’ onslaught of vandalism.
Ingrid, from Portsmouth, said: “My neighbour’s family member has upset someone that’s an absolute nutter and they’ve got someone to take on a revenge campaign on their behalf.
“We don’t know exactly how they’ve upset this person, but they seem to be targeting anyone connected to them.
“My neighbours have had a real hate campaign against them. It’s been a summer of terror for them.
“They’ve had paint thrown in their fish pond that killed all their fish, paint thrown over their van three times and over the front of their house as well.
“Because my car was parked next to theirs they assumed my car was one of theirs and I’ve just been caught in the crossfire.
“My partner came in about 6.10am because someone had knocked on the door and said ‘you car’s been done’ so I went round there to see it and was absolutely horrified.
“It was the day before I was due to go on holiday so I had to get the paint off that day because they were going to write the car off if it was left.
“I’m worried they might strike again because it’s just ongoing, there’s no end to it. It’s just an ongoing nightmare for something that’s nothing to do with me.”
The prison custody officer claims the ‘revenge attacks’ on her neighbours’ vehicles and home started in June this year, before her car was mistakenly targeted last month, on 14 October.
She said she was forced to make a claim on her insurance as the costs totalled about £1,000 to remove the paint and save her beloved car from being written off.
The paint was successfully removed, but the bonnet was damaged in the process. Ingrid’s insurer was now paying for it to be resprayed.
But she feared her car could be damaged again after being mistakenly associated with her neighbours.
As a result, she was forced to give up her usual car parking space, and now leaves her vehicle directly outside her front door, in view of a new security camera.
Ingrid said: “I had to put a claim in on my insurance and the insurer said it was a write off when they saw the pictures.
“I had to pay out not knowing if I would get the money back from my insurance because we spoke to a car specialist and they said if you don’t get that paint off today it’s a write off.
“I had to drive it through the city in that state to a car specialist and they used all sorts of stuff to get it off, but it did leave some damage on the bonnet because it’s lifted the lacquer.
“I love my car and I was more upset at the thought they were going to write it off. I never would have got the value of what the car means to me.
“I feel absolutely livid about it and I’m more angry that I can’t even park my car on my land or use my car at night because I can’t afford to move it from my space because I need my camera on it.
“Every night I come home stressing about whether I’m going to be able to park there and when I go out in the evenings or on weekends I’m having to get friends to pick me up because I don’t want to move my car.
“My space is sat vacant round the corner because I can’t park there.”
Ingrid claimed that both she and her neighbours reported the repeated paint attacks to the police, but no arrests have been made, leaving them fearing further damage to their property.
Ingrid said: “My neighbour’s made numerous complaints and I made a complaint when my car was done.
“But the police just kept coming back saying ‘if you haven’t got CCTV with a recognisable image, we’re not interested’.
“My argument is, what did they do before CCTV? They had to do good, old-fashioned investigating.”
A spokesperson for Hampshire Police said: “We received a report of criminal damage to a vehicle in Portsmouth on Friday 14 October.
“The local neighbourhood policing team are currently conducting enquiries into the incident.
“Our local neighbourhood team regularly review incidents in their area and will follow up on any new lines of enquiry that come to light.
“We would encourage anyone who has been the victim of this type of crime to please report it to us via 101 so that we can build a clear picture of the issues and target our resources as necessary.”