Lottery winner loses fortune for blocking public footpath | UK News


Lottery winner loses fortune for blocking public footpath | UK News

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Mark Skuse, 53, was ordered to pay more than £8,000 (Picture: SWNS)

A Postcode Lottery winner will have to part with a chunk of his money for blocking a public footpath next to his Gloucestershire mansion.

Mark Skuse erected fences and put up signage to stop dogs jumping in his pool and pooing in the garden of his £1.25 million home in Lower Marton.

After complaints from neighbours, South Gloucestershire Council ordered the 53-year-old in May last year to reopen the path.

Ignoring the pleas, the businessman was then summoned to Bristol Magistrates Court on Monday where he was found guilty of obstructing the public right of way, contrary to Section 137 of the Highways Act 1980.

He was handed a £5,000 fine, along with £1,155.60 in costs and a £2,000 victim surcharge.

Speaking after the case, Mark claimed that he only blocked off the public footpath after ‘around seven’ incidents threatening his home.

Mark and Wendy scored £120,000 on the Postcode Lottery

He said: ‘I had problems with people coming up at night with the intention of theft. We have had damage from attempted thefts.

‘The path is an easy way for criminals to come up. My wife and I have eight kids, seven grandkids. In the summer we all congregate out the back.

‘We’ve got a pool, BBQ, you get people walking by. They have a dog off the lead. The dog is then running, interacting with us. That’s not really on.

‘Dogs come into the swimming pool, have a crap in the garden.

‘I have had a dog jump in the swimming pool while the grandkids are in there. Is that acceptable?’

Their six-bedroom house in Gloucestershire (Picture: SWNS)

Mark claimed that in July 2023 his daughter came in saying she could hear noises with people trying to break into the motorhome.

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When he accosted them, they ran away, he claims. He said the whole process cost him £16,000 because of the legal bill he had to foot.

Mark said he felt let down by the council’s unwillingness to work with him directly.

‘Why don’t they come out and talk to you?’ he added. ‘They just try and get a big stick out and batter you.’

The public path that was obstructed (Picture: SWNS)

The court heard that a report was sent to the council from a member of the public in February 2023 stating that the public footpaths had been blocked for several months.

Neighbour Trevor Hellen said that although he sympathises with Mark’s situation, he dismissed the idea that you can shut down a public footpath.

The 79-year-old claimed only ‘two of three dozen’ hikers used the footpath last summer.

Mark King, service director of place operations at South Gloucestershire Council said: ‘We’re pleased with this result, which is the first time the council has had to resort to a prosecution of this type.

Mark was found guilty of obstructing the public right of way (Picture: SWNS)

‘There are 783 miles of public rights of ways across South Gloucestershire and we have a responsibility for making sure that they are usable, safe, legal and enjoyable, in partnership with town and parish councils, landowners and the public.

‘Hopefully this will act as a deterrent for anyone breaking the law with regards to accessing land.’

Mark and his wife Wendy previously hit the headlines for winning £120,000 on the Postcode Lottery in July 2022.

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