Gun fright for Benfield Valley dog walker

Posted On 05 Jan 2019 at 5:55 pm

A dog walker shared her concerns about an armed man in Benfield Valley yesterday morning (Friday 4 January).

Charlotte Laing warned others on Facebook and reported the incident to Sussex Police.

She said: “Good morning fellow dog walkers … has anyone else encountered a man with a rifle on his shoulder parading Benfield Valley this morning?

“He told me my dog was trespassing as he came off the public footpath by maybe a metre or so.

“This was just over the bridge into the long grass – not even on the FootGolf area.

“When I asked why he was carrying a big rifle that was clearly loaded, he said to shoot vermin in the area and if my dog got in the way so be it.

“Not a nice experience and very intimidating at 8am after finishing a lovely sunrise dogwalk.”

Sussex Police said: “Police attended a report of a man with a gun on the Benfield Valley Golf Course on Friday morning (4 January).

“It was established that he was legally present and there were no offences.”

Richard Philp, of Brighton FootGolf, which operates at the Benfield Valley Golf Course site, wrote: “Charlotte, so sorry to hear about your experience this morning.

“I don’t think what was said to you nor perhaps the tone you mentioned (were) the right way to have introduced himself.

“There has been instructions given (similar to every golf course in the country) to assist with the control of vermin.

“He is fully insured and licensed to use firearms. The police followed up your call and have been up to the barn, to get an explanation and seek clarification. They are satisfied it was a licensed person.

“Please accept my apologies for the incident.

“We have contacted him to be more tactful with anyone that is trespassing on the course, and of course everyone is entitled to use the designated footpaths and bridleways.

“His remit isn’t to come into contact with people or dogs.

“The course is undergoing works to transform it into 18 holes.”

Brighton FootGolf used Facebook to post a warning itself at the end of October, saying: “Our barn was burgled last night. Angle-grinded through padlocks and stole our green Yamaha quad bike.”

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