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Kennels owner faces £150,000 legal bill after losing appeal

PUBLISHED: 16:47 19 February 2020 | UPDATED: 09:05 20 February 2020

Supporters of Topcroft kennels owner Sharon Tidnam make their views known outside an earlier hearing Photo: Archant

Supporters of Topcroft kennels owner Sharon Tidnam make their views known outside an earlier hearing Photo: Archant

Archant

A boarding kennels owner now faces legal bills of more than £150,000 after losing her appeal over whether the sound of dogs barking on her premises was a nuisance.

Sharon Tidnam, who now faces a £150,000 legal bill Picture: Jamie HoneywoodSharon Tidnam, who now faces a £150,000 legal bill Picture: Jamie Honeywood

Sharon Tidnam has been appealing against her conviction for breaching a court order made in July 2018 to halt noise nuisance from her boarding kennels at Low Farm, Topcroft, near Long Stratton.

Mrs Tidnam was ordered to pay £3,000 compensation to her neighbour Matthew McNiff and left with a £93,000 legal bill after the hearing on June 26 last year.

On Wednesday, her appeal was dismissed by Judge Philip Shorrock after a three day hearing at King's Lynn Crown Court.

The court heard Mr McNiff of Manor Farm, Rectory Road, had made recordings of dogs repeatedly barking on his iPhone.

Sharon Tidnam, who now faces a £150,000 legal bill Picture: Jamie HoneywoodSharon Tidnam, who now faces a £150,000 legal bill Picture: Jamie Honeywood

The judge said he was satisfied the noise of barking and howling at various times on September 1, 2 and 3, 2018, came from Topcroft Farm.

The court order of July 2018 also stated work should not be carried out on the kennels without the approval of an acoustic consultant.

The judge said he was also satisfied work had been carried out without consultation, in the form of sheeting placed around a kennel block.

In closing speeches Miles Bennett, for Mr McNiff, said Mrs Tidnam had chosen to put her commercial interest in the kennels over her neighbours, who were only trying to enjoy a quiet life.

Saba Naqshbandi, for Mrs Tidnam, said she was a woman of impeccable character, who had run her kennels as a fit and proper person for 31 years.

After the judge delivered his ruling, Mr Bennett said he would be seeking costs of £61,000. While the £3,000 compensation has been paid to Mr McNiff, the £93,000 from a previous hearing remains outstanding.

Mrs Tidnam will also have as yet undisclosed costs from her own legal team.

A number of villagers attended the hearing. April Groen said: "It's absolutely disgusting, Sharon and Tid [Mr Tidman] are much-loved, hard-working business people and Norfolk people.

"Half the village is here for them today and it's an absolute travesty."

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