The mystery over a new fence which went up across a footpath in a Norfolk town to the bemusement and anger of locals has been resolved after the culprit confessed.

The structure appeared without explanation on Tudor Rose Way, Harleston, last Thursday.

It caused frustration among neighbours, who said it restricted their access to the local Co-op and doctor's surgery, and within hours it had been smashed.

Norfolk County Council and Redenhall with Harleston Town Council were both in the dark over who had put up the barrier and launched an investigation.

The police, meanwhile, started an inquiry into who smashed up the fence.

While that probe is still ongoing, Hastoe Housing Association - which has properties in the area - has now revealed it put up the fence.

It says it did so at the request of residents, to prevent anti-social behaviour.

Noor Hussain, who lives next to the pathway, said neighbours remained angry about the issue.

He said: "People are fuming it happened in the first place - they are ringing the housing association to complain. There was no need for it to be up."

Eastern Daily Press: The fence was destroyed shortly after it appearedThe fence was destroyed shortly after it appeared (Image: Pete Mason)

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Mr Hussain launched a petition against the fence which gathered more than 100 signatures, with supporters of his campaign calling the structure "totally stupid".

A spokesman for Norfolk County Council said: "This link path is an adopted highway and as such should not have been obstructed.

"Working with the town council, we can confirm that over the weekend the fence was removed and the area has been made safe."

Police officers were called to the scene just before 10pm on Thursday after it was reported that the structure had been damaged.

A spokeswoman added that enquiries were "ongoing" following the incident. 

A Hastoe Housing spokesman said: "The fence has now been removed but was put up at the request of residents in order to prevent loitering and antisocial behaviour in the area.

"We are now liaising with the local council to find an alternative way of managing the problem."