13 May 2016

A couple have been fined more than £2,400 for ignoring a noise abatement notice issued by Sheffield City Council’s environmental protection service.

Stephen and Lynette Hinchliffe, of Armitage Road, Sheffield, kept 20 Siberian huskies at their semi-detached house in Deepcar.

In March last year neighbours complained about the noise from the dogs, which howled persistently. Neighbours said the noise created a disturbance and prevented them from sleeping.

The Hinchliffes were issued with warning letters but the problem continued, despite council officers’ best efforts to help and resolve the complaint.

A noise monitoring device was installed at a nearby property and recorded 20 instances, over a period of a week, where the noise was sufficient to be considered a statutory nuisance.

As a result, a noise abatement notice was issued to both Mr and Mrs Hinchliffe in July 2015. This put them on a formal warning that, if the noise continued, they may be prosecuted.

However, the noise continued to be a problem. In September last year, noise monitoring equipment was once again installed and 40 instances of excessive noise were monitored, most of which were in the early morning.

At Sheffield Magistrates Court Mr and Mrs Hinchliffe both pleaded not guilty to breaching the noise abatement notice. However, after hearing evidence from all parties, magistrates concluded that the breaches had occurred.

Mr Hinchliffe, 52, and Mrs Hinchliffe, 45, were each fined £500 and ordered to pay £475 costs to Sheffield City Council and £200 compensation to their neighbours, as well as a victim surcharge of £50, giving a total of £2,450 in fines.

Councillor Bryan Lodge, Cabinet Member for the Environment at Sheffield City Council, said: “We are very pleased with this result. The financial penalty reflects the misery of the neighbours caught up in this issue.

“We take all noise complaints seriously, and although we will make every effort to resolve complaints at an early stage, if our help and advice is ignored we will use formal action.

“We hope that this action serves as a warning to others.”

Problems with noise can be reported to Sheffield City Council’s contact centre by telephone on 0114 2734567.

Council officers will try and resolve noise complaints by first providing help and advice. If this does not resolve the problem, then there are legal powers the council can use to try and achieve a resolution.

If an abatement notice is breached without a reasonable excuse, then the matter may go to court.