Two gay chocolatiers living and working in a rural Scottish village have come forward and claimed they've suffered years of homophobic abuse.
Paul Maden and James Findlay, owners of luxury chocolate company Cocoa Mountain, told the Telegraph that they may move away from their home in pastoral Durness, located in the county of Sutherland, because some locals bristled at their gay lifestyle.
According to British tabloid The Sun, the couple say they have suffered 10 years of abuse from a pair of homophobic neighbors, ferryman John Morrison and his son Malcom.
Morrison and the chocolatiers wound up in court after an incident in April. Morrison claimed the two chocolatiers attacked him in his van for no reason, but the couple contend they acted in self-defense after Morrison hurled homophobic and racist insults at them, according to the Sun.
"This is part of a campaign against these men that’s gone on since they moved in because you don’t like them and you don’t like their lifestyle," Findlay's lawyer told Morrison in court last week, according to the Daily Mail.
“We constantly live in fear. We're looking to get away as quickly as possible but at the moment it's difficult because of the financial climate,” Findlay said in court, according to the Telegraph.
Speaking to the Telegraph outside of court, Maden said, “It is quite frightening when you are in a remote place, a lot of places you do not get mobile phone signal and you feel quite vulnerable."
"I had spent a lot of time walking in the North Highlands and loved it," Maden told The Herald Scotland soon after moving to their new country home. "So chocolate seemed the perfect way to make the move happen... It was a complete gamble, but I'm glad we took it."
Although the two have not left yet Durness, Maden and Findlay have plans to pack up. "I feel Durness is quite a tolerant village," Findlay said, according to the Daily Mail. "It’s just the Morrisons that have taken a dislike to us."