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Fine for owner in canine ‘no go’ zone

A DOG owner has been fined more than £450 for allowing his pet to run loose on a Northumberland beach declared a canine no-go zone.

Richard Brac is the first person to be taken to court for flouting the controversial blanket ban on dogs using the restored sandy beach in Newbiggin-by-the-Sea. He was issued with a £75 fixed penalty fine after his dog was seen running along the beach in June, but failed to pay up – sparking court action by Wansbeck District Council.

This week Brac, of Carlton House, Newbiggin-by-the-Sea, was ordered to pay fines and costs totalling £465 at South-East Northumberland Law Courts in Bedlington for breaching the council-imposed ban.

He failed to attend court, but magistrates found the case proved in his absence and ordered him to pay the penalty within 28 days.

Wansbeck Council’s neighbourhood enforcement officer and community safety manager Sandra Dunn told the court the ban was imposed to create an area which families and children can enjoy free from the conflict of dogs running loose on the beach.

She said: “The nuisance caused by dogs whose owners are irresponsible does not only present itself when dogs are present on the beach. The effects of dog faeces and urination remain for many months.” The ban – which prohibits dogs from being on the beach at any time of the year – came into force on March 1 despite a protest campaign by dog owners, who claim it is too draconian and prevents pets from being properly exercised.

It was brought in to keep the area clean and safe for the public after 500,000 tonnes of sand was imported from Lincolnshire by dredger last year to replenish Newbiggin’s badly eroded beach.
In June, the ban collared its first victims when three dog owners were issued with £75 fixed penalty fines for allowing their pets on to the 300m-long beach. They were caught by council enforcement officers and given 14 days in which to pay up, with a warning that failure to do so could result in them being taken to court.

The ban was introduced despite a protest petition signed by more than 1,000 dog lovers, and opposition from local MP Denis Murphy. Critics say it is too restrictive on a stretch of beach which was restored thanks to £11m in funding from Defra for a package of improvements in Newbiggin Bay.

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Well what about all the parents who let their children pee on the beaches or whatever else, dirty nappies left... which they do just look on the beaches round St ives in the summer........ shall we stop children on the beaches as well and all the litter, glass, rubbish they leave.... as usual dogs get the bad press...