Tilgate Park User Fined for Failing to Comply with Public Space Protection Order

Crawley magistrates have ordered a man to pay £1,180 of fines and other costs after refusing to put his dogs on leads in a regulated area of Tilgate Park.

His criminal record now shows two offences of failing to comply with a Public Space Protection Order, which was introduced over part of the park in September 2022.

A Crawley Borough Council officer gave Haydn Harper ample opportunity to leave the restricted zone near a children’s play area, or put his two dogs on leads, but he refused.
Rather than issue two Fixed Penalty Notices (FPN) at £100 for each unleashed dog, the officer only issued one. However, Mr Harper failed to pay it within the permitted 28 days and prosecution became the last resort.

He was not present in court for the hearing in December and was found guilty by magistrates. They imposed a fine of £250 for each offence, plus a victim surcharge of £200 and £480 towards prosecution costs.

These offences were committed in March 2023 and it was the first FPN to be issued after the order was initiated. Only one more has been issued since.

We want everyone who visits Tilgate Park to have an enjoyable experience, and to feel secure there. We do not want to restrict anyone’s ability to use our parks but felt it necessary to put the Public Space Protection Order in place after various reports of dog attacks on people and wildlife. We have been educating dog walkers about the order since it was introduced and giving them a chance to follow the rules before resorting to enforcement action. The number of people issued with penalty notices and reports of attacks by dogs are quite low as a result of what we have done. In this case we were given no choice but to pursue a failure to comply at each opportunity through the court and now one walk in the park has cost someone more than £1,000.

Councillor Yasmin Khan

Cabinet member for Public Protection

Crawley Borough Council

For anyone who wants to give their dog a run while at Tilgate Park, there is an enclosed paddock of nearly an acre which is available to book at Tilgate Park Hound Ground. Visit the Hound Ground webpage for more information.

The regulations only apply to signposted areas of the park around the golf course, children’s play area, lawn and Tilgate Lake.

For more details on the Dog Control PSPO covering Tilgate Park visit our Public Spaces Protection Orders webpage.