Police are investigating after a female dog walker claimed to have been threatened by a man with a shotgun while on a public footpath in Mickle Trafford .
The news comes just days after local farmer Huw Rowlands announced he was closing permissive footpaths crossing his land because of ongoing problems with dog walkers.
But he insists the latest alleged occurrence is nothing to do with him or his associates.
Cheshire Police received reports of the worrying incident at Stile End, Mickle Trafford, at 3pm on Friday, September 15.
Police spokeswoman Donna Hesketh said: “A woman was walking her dog along a footpath when she was approached by a man who threatened her. The man was carrying what is believed to be a firearm. Enquiries are ongoing and officers are trying to trace the man involved to establish the full circumstances of the incident.”
Jonathan Bromhall wrote on the Mickle Trafford Village Facebook page: “A friend asked me to post this. On Friday she walked through stile end to the footpath. On entering the field with her small arthritic dog, she came face to face with a young man.
“He then raised a shot gun and, standing only metres away, pointed directly in the face of my friend.”
Last week The Chronicle reported that farmer Huw Rowlands, of The Grange Farm, Mickle Trafford, was closing permissive footpaths crossing the family farm because of numerous incidents, mainly involving dog walkers, including irresponsible owners not clearing up their animals’ mess, spreading a deadly disease to his cattle.
He advised walkers to use alternative routes after October 31 as access to a permissive path is down to the landowner.
Mr Rowlands is unable to ‘shed any light’ on the alleged shotgun incident last Friday or whether it took place on his land. But he confirmed it was nothing to do with him and he was away in Lancashire at the time. As a result of what happened he has brought forward the closure of the paths with immediate effect.
He told The Chronicle: “The only people who have permission to be on our land are three people I have known for decades and it’s certainly nothing to do with them. We would not sanction or condone any behaviour of that sort. If anything has happened on our land it has happened without our knowledge or approval. Neither myself or my father were there that day any way.”
Mr Rowlands wrote on Facebook: “Given the seriousness and number of incidents both real and alleged during the last week, all permissive paths on our land will close as from midnight tonight (September 19), with the agreement of Defra. Cheshire Police have been notified.
”Public footpaths remain open. You are required to keep to the path and keep dogs under strict control, on a lead and on the footpath. Please also remember that damaging or removing signs is a criminal act and the removal of dog muck is your responsibility as a dog owner, and that you can be fined for failure to dispose of it correctly.”
Anyone with any information about the alleged shotgun incident is asked to contact Cheshire police on 101 quoting incident number 564 of September 15.