AN independent political candidate has been criticised for using the term “window licker” in an email to a resident after a heated row about a damaged gate.

Jane Evans, of Curlew Croft, Colchester, had a leaflet posted through her door by Greenstead candidate Christopher Lee.

Mrs Evans claims Mr Lee ignored two signs which asks visitors to close gates at her house because she has two dogs - a Dachshund called Violet and a Jack Russell called Chip - which ran out and caused a gate to swing open and break.

Hours after the incident, Mrs Evans emailed Mr Lee criticising his alleged behaviour to which he replied he had stepped over the gate without touching it and his version of events could be confirmed by a neighbour.

When Mrs Evans, 58, then accused him of lying, he replied in the email exchange, saying: “Hello again Chirpy, I’m sorry my presence on your property caused your window licker dogs to charge into your gate and break it.”

The landscape gardener added he would happily return to the house and fix the gate but Mrs Evans declined his offer.

Speaking to The Gazette Mrs Evans said: “I am absolutely furious. If you are coming onto private property then you should abide by signs which have been put up.

“To call my dogs window lickers is out of order. It is an extremely disrespectful phrase and it is totally inappropriate.”

“I would have possibly voted for someone independent but I certainly won’t be voting for him now.”

Mr Lee said he understood the phrase to mean someone who is curious and did not have any other connotations. He said his tone was because Mrs Evans had accused him of lying.

He said: “‘Window licker’ comes from the French léche vitrine – to lick windows and it means window shopper like the kid licking the window of the sweet shop or the dog looking for someone to bark at.

“If you’re going to start a conversation calling someone a liar and commenting on just what sort of people they are then you shouldn’t really be complaining if the response you get is along a similar thread.”

“I didn’t even touch the gate, it’s about knee height and I stepped right over it.

“I offered to repair it for nothing as it does appear my presence on her property caused the dogs to go charging in to it.

“What more could I have offered to do?

n Other candidates standing in Greenstead in the Colchester Council elections are John Baker (Lib Dem), Tina Bourne (Lab), John Clifton (Green) and Fabian Green (Con).