The company director of a shooting range in Worksop has been slapped with almost £12,000 in fines and costs after breaching regulations 79 times over nine months.
Mark Mitchell, who had been operating Whitewater Shooting Ltd in Blyth, was found guilty of breaching two elements of a Community Protection Notice when he appeared at Mansfield Magistrates’ Court on June 1.
Under the terms and conditions of the CPN agreed between the company and Bassetlaw District Council, shooting was permitted to take place at the range during certain opening hours and for a restricted number of hours each day.
But evidence submitted by residents nd Environmental Health officers showed that these conditions were not being adhered to and that gunshots from the range were having a “persistent and continuing detrimental effect” on residents’ quality of life.
David Armiger, director of Regeneration and Neighbourhoods at Bassetlaw District Council, said: “Whitewater Shooting Ltd were given ample opportunity to adjust to the conditions and to abide by them in order to find a balance between the rights of residents and the wishes of Whitewater to run a sustainable business.
“However, the owners of Whitewater showed a blatant disregard for these conditions and the welfare of residents.
“As such, we were left with no option but to take the matter through the courts and allow magistrates to decide on the appropriate action.”
Just some of the complaints received included; residents being unable to spend time in their gardens because of “persistent noise” from shooting, pets being traumatised by the sound of shooting, shooting being heard clearly through double glazed windows and residents’ illnesses and mental state being exacerbated.
Whitewater had already been issued with a Community Protection warning letter in September 2017, but was issued with the CPN after failing to comply with conditions set by the Council.
An appeal was lodged by Whitewater and an amended CPN was later agreed on by both parties, which came into force in July 2017.
Again, the firm did not abide by these conditions and it was established that at least 79 breaches of the CPN had occurred.
Mitchell was ordered to pay a £5,000 fine and costs of £7,328.80.
Whitewater has until June 29 to pay the amount full. However, Mitchell indicated in a letter to the court prior to the hearing that the company ceased trading on May 7, and it would not be in a position to pay any fine or costs.