A farmer on the outskirts of Whitchurch believes he is the victim of harassment by Wrexham Council after he was fined for failing to comply with an enforcement notice to take a polytunnel down.

Paul Martin, 53, of Wood View in Bronington, used to be a tenant at the council-owned Woodlands farm in the same area until 2017 before he was evicted.

He was recently fined £270 for failing to comply with an enforcement notice from Wrexham Council, who want him to take down a temporary polytunnel, which he plans to use for the lambing season.

Mr Martin insists that if he is forced to take the tunnel down, it will increase the potential for him to lose ewes and their lambs to any upcoming cold weather.

He alleges the enforcement notice was the latest incident of harassment by the council, which includes being photographed leaving land he says he rents from a private landlord while being accused of trespassing on his former, council-owned land.

“My ewes will be lambing at the end of this month, but if has to come down they will be open to the elements and then it will increase the chance of their deaths,” he said.

“Wrexham Council think they’re getting back at me but all they’re doing is hurting the animals. The elements will get them or they will be open to foxes. It’s obstructing my day-to-day farming life. It’s everybody’s right to make a living and they’re blocking me from doing it. It’s difficult to take.

“If I was to put in for a permanent shed, then I don’t think Wrexham Council would grant me a fair hearing and give planning permission.

“I accept that the polytunnel will have to come down at some point because they said so. But people have to realise that if I take the tunnel down early it’s only going to hurt the animals.

“I just want to be able to farm. They have stopped me and I just want to get on with my life.”

Mr Martin says he was photographed by council officer David James in 2017 on the land from around 50 yards away which The Herald has seen a copy of. In a letter, Denise Garland, who is strategic assets lead for the council, accused Mr Martin of acting aggressively towards the Wrexham Council employee and says they have contacted the police about this.

Mr Martin said he was told that Mr James’s business at the farm was a pre-arranged appointment with another party and that he was blocking access.

But the farmer denies his behaviour was aggressive and says when he contacted North Wales Police for a crime reference number, he was told there was not one available and that he merely asked Mr James why he was photographing him from a distance.

The Herald approached Wrexham Council for a comment and a copy of the crime reference number – however, Gill Stevens, for Wrexham Council, said: “It is not appropriate to comment on this matter.”

Plans to develop Woodlands were due to be heard by Wrexham Council on Monday. See page 10.