Newquay pensioner Roger Hobkinson says 'arrest me' over dog poo row
"COME and arrest me". Those were the defiant words of a Newquay pensioner who faces arrest unless he pays £650 over a dog fouling conviction.
Roger Hobkinson, a former policeman, has already paid a £100 fine – but is refusing to cough up for court costs.
The 72-year-old maintains he was never given the chance to pay the fine before Cornwall Council's dog warden team hauled him before magistrates in November.
He received an "arrest warning" letter from Devon and Cornwall central finance unit last Wednesday warning him that a warrant will be issued unless he pays immediately.
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Mr Hobkinson, of Clifden Close, said: "I've told them to go ahead with an arrest warrant because I'm not paying £650. I'll do the time; it doesn't worry me.
"They should have just sent me a ticket and I would have paid it. Instead, I was never given the opportunity to pay the fine and they took it to court, and now I'm expected to pay the costs for that. I don't know what this country is coming to; all this over some dog mess."
Mr Hobkinson claims he is being victimised by Cornwall Council's dog wardens, saying they lie in wait for him with binoculars at the Gannel estuary where he walks Dalmatian Henry.
The Cornish Guardian reported on November 13 that he walked the dog as a favour to owner, Jackie Ward, who was left disabled after contracting a virus three years ago.
He said he always picked up after Henry when he saw him do his business but eagle-eyed wardens often spotted misdemeanours when his back was turned.
Mr Hobkinson has been fined four times since 2010, costing him £1,656.
He said: "It's an absolute disgrace the way I'm being victimised here. I'm a responsible dog-walker – I used to be a copper and I volunteer with the National Trust as a litter-picker."
However, speaking in court in November, Cornwall Council lawyer Karen Tambling said: "It's clear that the defendant has a total disregard for the health and wellbeing of the general public."
Allan Hampshire, head of public health and protection, added: "The issue of dog fouling and irresponsible dog ownership is one that blights many residents of Cornwall. This fine sends a clear message to the small minority of irresponsible dog-owners that if you don't clear up after your dog, the courts will fine you accordingly."