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Court orders man who flouted summer dog ban to pay £668 in fines and costs

Gyllyngvase Beach, Falmouth
Gyllyngvase Beach, Falmouth

A Falmouth man has been ordered to pay £668 in fines and costs for walking his dog on a Cornish beach while the summer dog ban was in effect.

John Dodd, 44 of Beech Road, Falmouth, was found guilty of breaching a Public Spaces Protection Order by permitting his pet onto Gyllyngvase Beach in Falmouth within the restriction date and time period of the order and refusing to leave when requested by an authorised Enforcement officer.

The hearing at Truro Magistrates Court on 24 January was told that in July 2023, Dodd was witnessed on Gyllynvase Beach with his dog by a Falmouth Town Council enforcement officer.

She had spoken to him previously and given advice regarding the restrictions and when and where he could access the beach with his dog. Again, he was given the opportunity to leave the beach but refused to do so until requested by a police officer.

Mr Dodd’s committed an offence under Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.  In line with the Council’s procedures, a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) was issued to Mr Dodd for £100.

The FPN offers the person to who it is issued the opportunity to pay a £100 penalty instead of being prosecuted.  The £100 penalty was unpaid resulting in the case proceeding to court.

Dodd did attended court, pleading guilty. He said that he was very sorry, and that at the time of the offence there was no one in the vicinity, so he took his dog onto the rocks to play.

He tried to leave to find a nearby beach where dogs were allowed, but said he had walked the wrong way across the prohibited beach.

He told the court he had not been back to the beach since and will not use it again when the ban is in place. He said he has now realised that it was not for him to flout the law. Magistrates fined Dodd £180, reduced to £120 for the guilty plea, ordered him to pay costs of £500 and a victim surcharge of £48, making a total of £668.

Cllr Martyn Alvey, Cornwall Council’s portfolio holder for environment and public protection, said: “This case shows great joint working with Falmouth Town Council. Every effort was made with Mr Dodd to make him aware of the restrictions and explain when he was permitted to access the beach.

“Dog owners may access this beach in the summer before 10am and after 6pm. It was disappointing he felt unable to accept the advice and enforcement was necessary.

“I hope this successful prosecution sends out a clear message that such blatant disregard of the rules will not be tolerated.”

Mark Williams, Town Clerk at Falmouth Town Council, said: "Education and advice will always be the priority for our Education, Environmental and Enforcement officers when enforcing Falmouth’s environmental byelaws.

"However, this case is a good example of how our strong relationships with the local police force, Cornwall Council, and other Safer Falmouth partners, still ensures effective enforcement when all reasonable approaches by our officers are ignored."

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