A British math teacher has been convicted of harassing his German neighbors with loud wartime music and Nazi salutes.

Prosecutors said that Geoffrey Butler, 54, caused Reinhard and Kathryn Wendt four years of misery, among other things miming a Nazi salute and a Hitler mustache, playing a Winston Churchill speech and blasting patriotic British songs like “Rule Britannia.”

Lawyers at Medway Magistrates’ Court said relations between the neighbors soured soon after the Wendts moved in next door to Butler in the village of Lower Upnor, southern England, in 2007, apparently in a dispute over a small piece of land. Butler and Reinhard Wendt eventually came to blows.

Prosecutor Alistair Dickson said Butler “decided to make their lives a misery because of Mr. Wendt’s German origin.”

Butler had denied the charge of racially aggravated harassment, which in Britain covers crimes based on national, as well as ethnic, origin. He called the allegation “totally absurd” and said he believed the dispute was only over the land.

“As far as I was aware, all the issues were to do with what they are now calling civil matters,” Butler said. “I was not aware that among these matters were incidents where I was alleged to be racist and I was accused of Nazi abuse.”

Butler was sentenced to a three-year conditional discharge, which allows him to remain free unless he offends again. He was also given a restraining order banning him from playing loud music, insulting behavior, and pointing photographic equipment at his neighbors or their property.

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Cologne police were faced with a slithery problem on Saturday, after 100 snakes, 70 tortoises and 20 brightly-coloured frogs were found in a hotel room.

According to police, three Chinese guests smuggled the animals to their room in their luggage. Hotel employees contacted police on Friday evening after the trio had struck them as suspicious. The police then searched the luggage and found the animals still alive inside.

Police do not yet know whether the reptiles and amphibians were rare or poisonous species. “Cologne zoo has taken them in for now,” a police spokesman said.

The three Chinese people were arrested, but were later released after paying a four-figure bail. “We’re assuming they were animal dealers,” the spokesman said. Police are now investigating how the animals were smuggled into Germany.

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for wear after Halloween celebrations ended with a minor traffic collision.

A 42-year-old male driver, dressed in his Yoda costume, had a minor collision with a pedestrian and sped off in his car. He was caught two minutes afterwards by a police vehicle.

The pedestrian was left with only light injuries following the accident.

“The officers were especially surprised to see … Grand Master Yoda at the wheel,” according to the statement from police in the city of Darmstadt, near Frankfurt.

It appears that Yoda enjoyed his evening too much to be driving, and authorities took him to the station, confiscated his license and took a blood sample.

“The hapless Jedi returned home on foot,” police said.

“In this case, the force was not with him,” they added.

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