A DOG rescue centre has been ordered to close after its owners admitted breaching a noise abatement and enforcement notice.

Charley Nathan and Karen James, owners of AA Dog Rescue, of Burnham Road, Latchingdon, must pay more than £20,000 in costs after admitting the two charges at Chelmsford Crown Court on Tuesday.

The breaches occurred during May 2016. Ms Nathan and Ms James have been ordered to cease using the site as a dog rescue centre with immediate effect.

A spokesman for Maldon District Council said: “At Chelmsford Magistrates Court yesterday the defendants, Ms. Karen James and Ms. Charlene Nathan, each entered guilty pleas to one charge of breach of Noise Abatement Notice and one charge of breach of Enforcement Notice.

"Both defendants were sentenced to a two year conditional discharge (on each charge to run concurrently) and each ordered to pay costs of £10,000 plus a £10 surcharge.

“The defendants must now immediately cease the unauthorised use of the site and comply with both the Planning Enforcement Notice and Noise Abatement Notice. The council will be closely monitoring the situation to ensure that the defendants comply with the court order.

“The council, in order to fulfil its duties under both the planning and environmental health regimes, took enforcement action in the Magistrate’s Court in relation to unauthorised use of the site at Oldfield Lodge, Latchingdon, and statutory nuisance being caused through such use.

“We are aware of residents’ concerns for the welfare of the dogs currently homed at the above site.

“Whilst the onus is on the defendants to rehome the dogs, the council can put them in contact with other homes and rescues that may have capacity to assist them.

“The council is in receipt of a planning application in relation to the above site and as such will make no further comment in relation to this matter at this time.”

When sentencing, the district judge told the defendants: “You continued taking on dogs without the facility to do so and have been causing nuisance to your neighbours.

“You have got to stop and get to grips. Until you get planning permission you have to stop running a dog rescue.

“You need to close down the business so it doesn’t cause a nuisance or breach the Enforcement Notice. Otherwise the Local Authority will bring you back to court.”

In a Facebook post which has since been removed, Charley Nathan thanked staff and volunteers for their support during their four-and-a-half years they have been running.

The owners have been contacted for comment.