When Hamdi Almasri and Reeta Herzallah decided to install a fake garage in their backyard, they had no idea that their neighbors had been watching them the entire time.
It wasn’t long before their neighbors reported them to the authorities, and they were arrested. So what were they hiding in their garage?
The pair lived in a brick house near a congested highway. They were both doctors and weren’t at home much.
Naturally, their neighbors were curious about them, as they didn’t socialize with anyone and wouldn’t leave their house often.
One day, the neighbors noticed something strange coming from their garage door. Soon, they became the latest gossip in the neighborhood.
Everyone wanted to know what was happening in Hamdi and Reeta’s garage. Some people believed they were BBQing, others were convinced they were conducting illegal experiments. But no one was prepared for the truth.
The couple was aware that the neighbors were talking about them, so they built a high fence to keep away from prying eyes.
But this only made them more suspicious, and now the whole neighborhood was gossiping about them.
The doctors continued working on their creation now that the fence was up and played loud music to block out the noise.
They would work on their project every day after returning from the hospital, completely unaware of how curious and suspicious their neighbors were.
One morning, as the couple was working on their project, their neighbors gathered next to the fence as several police cars arrived at the scene.
Reeta and Hamdi looked visibly nervous as police officers inspected their garage door. It was apparent to everyone present that they were hiding something.
After investigating the garage door, the police officers found that it wasn’t attached to the garage itself. It was a facade built to keep out of sight of what the doctors had been working on over the last few weeks.
“The development included the conversion of their garage to habitable accommodation and the erection of fencing, preventing off-street parking at the property,” the authorities said.
It turns out that Hamdi and Reeta converted their “fake” garage into a small home, and this altercation hadn’t been legally approved.
But this fake garage wasn’t the only altercation that the couple had made on their property.
The doctors had also constructed an extra driveway that gave them direct access to a highway.
“The couple also undertook illegal works within the highway and created an unauthorized vehicle access onto the busy B4114 dual carriageway,” authorities explained.
“The message from this case is clear. If you breach planning regulations and ignore us, we will not just go away. Creating an access onto a busy highway and blocking off valuable off-road parking space was completely unacceptable,” Councilor Sheila Scott said.
Hamdi and Reeta had made an after-the-fact planning proposal to the district council to retain the changes to their property, but their application was refused. A few months later, they finally took down the illegal fencing. But this was only the beginning…
When the authorities arrived at their home for the follow-up inspection, they discovered that the small structure was still being used as a tiny home.
The neighbors informed the police that an employee of the couple lived in the fake garage. The authorities had no other choice but to initiate legal procedures against Reeta and Hamdi.
The couple didn’t attend the court hearing at Leicester Magistrates’ Court, and the report about them converting their garage into a tiny home was released to the public.
But Reeta had her own explanation, which she shared on her Facebook profile.
“This was a simple single garage conversion into a small garden annex in the house that we own on the land that we own, and it cannot be called a separate house in any stretch of imagination!” she wrote.
“We had no intention in breaking any laws.”
She went on to say, ”A simple council dispute over a tiny garage within our property that we converted for personal use was made into the ‘foreign doctors that hid a house behind a propped up garage door’ story.”
“It doesn’t feel random that this was given particular attention when there are thousands of other council disputes.”
Reeta claims that the “fake” garage door was not put there to try to conceal their tiny home. ”What stupid person would hide an annex with a propped-up garage door?” she asked in the post.
“I suggest some respect for the readers’ intelligence at least would have been nice!” she continued. ”I also suggest that before you try to attack a law-abiding, hard-working couple who have been misled by the council and builders, get both sides of the story.” Reeta and Hamdi were each ordered to pay a $1,000 fine, a $100 victim surcharge, and a legal cost of $1,600. They were also ordered to restore the garage to its original use. “The message from this case is clear. If you breach planning regulations and ignore us, we will not just go away.” the authorities said.