A Dorking resident was so frustrated he couldn't water his lawn under the current hosepipe ban that he deliberately set fire to a neighbour's hedge, in the hope that the emergency services - by extinguishing it - would simultaneously water his grass.
Ernest Hodgkiss, 56, of Plomley Villas Dorking was last week remanded on bail, facing charges of arson and aggravated assault on both his neighbour and a fire officer.
"It appears to be a cold-blooded. calculated and premeditated act. The suspect called 999 even before there was a fire," said investigations officer DI Dowsing. "The hedge was positioned perfectly so that the fire officers' hoses would spray his lawn, vegetable patch and Dahlias."
Hodgkiss's plan was foiled, however, as the fire fighters used chemical extinguishers to quench the hedge flames.
A spokesman for Dorking Fire Brigade commented: "His whole garden was covered in foam, looking for all the world like a Winter Wonderland. He wasn't best pleased. That's when the violence erupted."
"Ironic really," he added, "This last week's deluge of biblical proportions has meant that Hodgkiss's lawn in now under three feet of water, with the foam floating on top. I've seen prettier sewage outlets."