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Strangers donate thousands of pounds to kennel owner caught in £96,000 legal case

PUBLISHED: 14:27 29 August 2019 | UPDATED: 14:27 29 August 2019

Sharon Tidnam has lodged an appeal after losing a court battle with her neighbour over dog noise at her Topcroft kennels. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

Sharon Tidnam has lodged an appeal after losing a court battle with her neighbour over dog noise at her Topcroft kennels. Picture: Jamie Honeywood

Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk

Strangers have donated hundreds of pounds to a kennels owner to help with a legal appeal after she lost a £96,000 court case.

Supporters of Topcroft kennels owner Sharon Tidnam outside Yarmouth Magistrates Court on Tuesday July 30 2019. Photo: ArchantSupporters of Topcroft kennels owner Sharon Tidnam outside Yarmouth Magistrates Court on Tuesday July 30 2019. Photo: Archant

Sharon Tidnam has lodged an appeal after losing a court battle with her neighbour over noise at her kennels at Low Farm, Topcroft.

Barrister Matthew McNiff made hundreds of recordings from his home half-a-mile away of dogs "howling and barking" in a bid to prove Mrs Tidnam had breached a noise nuisance order imposed by Norwich Magistrates Court.

At her sentencing last month, she was ordered to pay £3,000 compensation to Mr McNiff as well as his legal costs of £93,000 within three months.

More than 100 people met in support of Mrs Tidnam at a public meeting in Topcroft on August 7.

Sharon Tidnam with husband Russell outside Great Yarmouth Magistrates Court. Photo: ArchantSharon Tidnam with husband Russell outside Great Yarmouth Magistrates Court. Photo: Archant

A Go Fund Me page was created in a bid to raise money for her court bill, which has so far accrued more than £2,000 with some supporters donating between £100 and £500 at a time.

Supporter and friend Nicola Eastall said: "She has had complete strangers handing her £5 to help with her appeal and wishing her well.

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"Mrs Tidnam has had a great many letters of support and offers of donations to help with her plight which she has found extremely heartening in what has been a devastating time for her and her family."

Topcroft Low Farm kennels owner Sharon Tidnam looks after up to 25 dogs. Picture: ArchantTopcroft Low Farm kennels owner Sharon Tidnam looks after up to 25 dogs. Picture: Archant

She added: "People have been donating small amounts but they are people she doesn't even know."

Mrs Tidnam, 62, said the support has been overwhelming, adding: "People from a long way away have heard my story and I've had people email and call, it's been amazing really.

"Everybody I have spoken to have said the same thing - they can't believe what has happened. People want to help, they want to donate.

"People are asking how I have kept going, but because of all the support I've had I don't see how I can give up."

Supports met at Topcroft Pavillion, Topcroft. Picture: Greta LevySupports met at Topcroft Pavillion, Topcroft. Picture: Greta Levy

Mr McNiff was previously good friends with Mrs Tidnam but brought a private prosecution against her in 2018 over the noise.

She was then found guilty at a hearing in June of breaching a nuisance order and told to pay Mr McNiff's £93,000 legal costs.

Her solicitor accused Mr McNiff of taking a "Rolls Royce" approach by employing expensive solicitors.

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