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‘It’s my public duty’ - farmer challenges dog walkers heading to his fields

PUBLISHED: 11:04 31 March 2020 | UPDATED: 09:06 01 April 2020

Farmer Richard Hirst is having a 'polite word' with people who drive to his land for walks during the coronavirus outbreak  Picture: James Bass

Farmer Richard Hirst is having a 'polite word' with people who drive to his land for walks during the coronavirus outbreak Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk © 2014

Walkers who are still driving to rural areas to exercise their dogs are being challenged by a farmer who says it is his public duty ‘to have a word.’

Richard Hirst says people are heading to his fields in ever greater numbers - many of them in their cars - against Government advice to only travel when absolutely essential.

Mr Hirst, who has permissive paths around Ormesby and Hemsby, said he was bewildered to discover people were travelling from places like Martham and Caister claiming their home villages were “too busy” during the coronavirus lockdown.

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“It just seems a pathetic excuse,” he said.

“It may be they had not really thought about it, but it is one thing we could do without having to do - chasing around people like that.

“It is quite extraordinary. We have had people driving here from Martham and Caister and the reason I am challenging them is that I thought the Government advice was we do not drive to walk our dogs.

“I am not trying to police it.

“I thought it was my public duty to have a word.

“Also I am really fed up that on our stubble field they let their dogs run off all over it.

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“People seem to thing they can just go where they want and I get some funny looks when I say otherwise.

“They just need to think.

“You get a piece of dog’s mess in a field of lettuces and you can have the whole field rejected.

“The people I have told have not been back.”

Mr Hirst said it was a huge disappointment not to be able to open Hirsty’s fun park for Easter, but his family had been buoyed by the many messages of support saying how much they had enjoyed previous visits.

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Instead Mr Hirst is ploughing his energies into the farm shop at Mill Farm in North Road, Ormesby.

Produce for sale includes meat, fresh vegetables, and milk.

Under lockdown advice people can run, walk, or cycle once a day and police have the power to issue on the spot fines of £30 for meeting without good reason.


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