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‘Dogs barking made it impossible for us to enjoy our home,’ court told

PUBLISHED: 17:17 17 February 2020 | UPDATED: 16:01 18 February 2020

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

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

Jamie Honeywood Archant Norwich Norfolk

A dog kennel owner has launched an appeal against a court ruling which left her with a £93,000 legal bill.

Sharon Tidnam was convicted on June 26 of breaching a court order made to halt noise nuisance from her boarding kennels at Low Farm, Topcroft, near Long Stratton.

It had been granted the previous year after a private prosecution launched by Mrs Tidnam's neighbour, Matthew McNiff.

Mr McNiff of Manor Farm, Rectory Road, had made recordings of dogs repeatedly barking he claimed came from Mrs Tidnam's property.

Mrs Tidnam was ordered to pay £3,000 in compensation to Mr McNiff for breaching the order.

At the time, district judge Malcolm Dodds told Great Yarmouth Magistrates' Court the whole matter could have been resolved amicably months earlier.

As Mrs Tidnam's appeal began at King's Lynn Crown Court on Monday, judge Philip Shorrock heard Mrs Tidnam had breached the noise prevention order on a number of occasions.

Miles Bennett, appearing for respondent Mr McNiff, said: "This is not a case where someone has gone to live in the country and complained about country activities."

Mr McNiff, who had lived at Manor Farm with his wife Sarah since 2000, played the court a number of recordings of dogs barking at different times of the day, beginning as early as 5.20am.

Asked by Mr Bennett how this had affected his enjoyment of his property, he replied: "It made it impossible.

"The kennels has controlled our home and the use of our home for years. All we want to do is get the hell out of there."

Under examination by Saba Naqshbandi, for Mrs Tidnam, Mr McNiff admitted he had been mistaken during earlier proceedings when he said the recordings had all been made on a single iPhone. He said they had been made on four different devices.

He said noise from the kennels became worse after the business was expanded, in 2004.

Asked if he could be certain that the sounds of all of the dogs barking on the recordings came from the kennels, he said he could.

The appeal, which is expected to last four days, continues on Tuesday.

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