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Warning to school field dog walkers

Heather Watts by the locked gates to Hodgson Academy playing fields, Moorland Road, Poulton le Fylde.

Heather Watts by the locked gates to Hodgson Academy playing fields, Moorland Road, Poulton le Fylde.

School bosses today warned dog walkers to stay off their field – after a woman found herself on the wrong side of a locked gate.

Hodgson Academy, on Moorland Road, Poulton, closed off their school field gate unaware Heather Watts, 27, had gone on to the field and was walking her two dogs on the grass.

The school has recently fitted a new gate to keep pupils safe. It prevents residents from accessing the field when the school day has started, except via wasteland at the back of Fylde Cricket Club.

Miss Watts had walked through the gate, as it was open when she arrived, but she then found it locked when she tried to leave.

She was directed by staff to leave through another exit.

Today, Toni Roethling, Hodgson Academy’s principal, urged locals not to use the school fields to walk their dogs, stressing the school is keen to maintain good relations with neighbours but that the safety of students is paramount.

She said: “We do not allow public access to our school or playing fields in order to ensure the safety of our students.

“Rare but devastating incidents, like the Dunblane school massacre, make this necessary. Additionally, we do not allow dogs on the playing fields as they may bite a student and dog fouling has been a problem in the past.

“We were unaware there was a member of the public in the field at the time.

“Hodgson site staff followed protocol on locking the gate. They politely asked the lady to leave through another exit. Miss Watts, who was walking her dogs Gizmo and Hugo, says people have been walking pets on the field for more than 50 years.

She said: “There’s fencing all the way round and I walked through the gate because I have never had a problem before. I had to go further into the field and climb over a fence and get my partner to help me lift the dogs over.”

 
 
 

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