WREXHAM taxpayers must foot much of the bill for a council taking two residents to court after they refused to move a caravan.

Samantha Rogers, of Longfield in Chirk, and Andrew Penman, who provided a 'care of' address identical to his co-defendant, appeared at Mold Crown Court for sentence on Tuesday afternoon.

Both 61-year-old Penman and 58-year-old Rogers had been convicted after trial on one count of failing to comply with a planning enforcement notice.

In July 2022, Wrexham Council issued the notice regarding the defendants' use of land in Abermorddu, where a static caravan was in use.

They were ordered to cease the residential use of the caravan there and to restore the site to agricultural use.

It had come about, the court heard, after Penman and Rogers bought the piece of land in 2016 and sited the static caravan there in 2018 - trying and failing afterwards to get retrospective planning permission for it.

Once their appeal then failed, the council's notice was served.

But they did not comply.

Judge Timothy Petts told the defendants at the sentencing hearing that they had attempted to use the subsequent court process to argue about the underlying merits of the planning application they had made.


"That's not what the criminal court system is for," he told them.

"You raised various issues that were wrong, irrelevant or both.

"The evidence was clear; you accepted receiving the notice and decided not to comply.

"The issues for the Jury were narrow and your conviction was inevitable."

Asked by the Judge if they wished to say anything prior to sentence being passed, Penman - representing himself - said: "Nothing at this point Your Honour. We have provided what our financial situations are.

"Other than that, there isn't anything else to say."

Rogers, representing herself, said: "No, exactly the same."

The Judge concluded: "Whether you like it or not, you're subject to the same planning rules as everyone else.

"The decision has been taken that you can't have the static caravan there."

Judge Petts found that Penman had been "the driving force behind the obstinate stance taken."

The Leader:

As such, he received a £500 fine and must pay a £250 contribution towards prosecution costs.

Rogers received a £200 fine and must pay £100 costs.

Judge Petts added: "I've seen the schedule and how much it cost Wrexham Council to enforce.

"That's not even one tenth of the costs, which is unfortunate, but I can't make good the balance from your resources.

"Council Tax payers in Wrexham unfortunately have to bear the bulk of the cost of your failure to comply with the notice."