How long has this been happening for?
If the person that is doing this can prove that they have done this for more than 10 years they can apply to the land registry to have it registered in their name under the doctrine of adverse possession.
You might want to lock the gate and put a notice on the gate to the effect that the person is trespassing and provide your contact details for them to get hold of you.
Take a photograph of the lock so that if it gets broken, you can go to the police and alleged criminal damage.
Until you find out who it is, there is little more that you can do.
When you do find out, they will either have to apply to the land registry or vacate the property. If you object to the registration, which seems likely, will go to the land tribunal and that is going to be potentially risky for them. The reason it would be risky is that if they don’t win for any reason, (they can’t prove 10 years) they could face tens of thousands of pounds in legal costs.
Can I clarify anything for you?
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If you lock the land and other people have the right of access, they could take you to court for obstruction although they may be happy to have it locked and also have a key.
You don’t have a duty to maintain hedgerows. There may be a problem if they become a nuisance and overgrown the highway but other than that, you don’t have to maintain them.
You don’t have to lock the gate to object to this, you can simply put a notice on the board and nail it to a stick and bang it into the ground in the middle of the plot or better still, put several notices saying that this is trespass a new object and they must leave immediately.
Take photographs and include a current newspaper in one of the photographs so that the can be no dispute over the date it’s better than having a photograph dated because that can be changed by altering the date on the camera..
That would be sufficient, for court purposes, to be an objection. If you know the person’s name and address, so much the better .
Ironically enough, if you go and dig all the spuds up and leave them on the ground, that is probably criminal damage and you could face prosecution if the person makes a complaint.
You dig the spuds up and take them that is theft.
There is an argument, a technical legal argument that by growing these things and taking them out of the ground and taking the spuds away (or whatever) they are stealing your nutrients from the ground! However, unless you want a technical legal argument, probably better not go there.
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If you go to the Law Society website www.lawsociety.org.uk and visit the Find a Solicitor page, you can search by specialism and postcode.
There are 50,000 solicitors firms in the country and I’m afraid I don’t know one in London although the majority of London firms would be able to do this for you if they handle disputed property matters.