A BUSINESSMAN was left shocked after the Lake District National Park Authority (LDNPA) tried to serve him with over £7,000 of court costs. 

David Webster, 45, was accused of allowing his boat to travel just three nautical miles an hour (knots) over the 10 knot speed limit on High Wray Bay, Lake Windermere on April 21. 

He was on the boat with family and friends while rangers at the lake filmed the group from 1km away. 

Mr Webster said the National Park rangers initially insisted that the boat was travelling at 17 knots, but the figure was lowered when he challenged their findings.

He pleaded guilty to the offence when it was seen at South Cumbria Magistrates’ Court in Barrow last Thursday, October 3.

He said: “I ended up pleading guilty because the costs were getting so high and I couldn’t risk them going up even more.

“It feels like justice is only for the wealthy because they can afford to fight the accusation and not worry about the costs.” 

The LDNPA attempted to serve costs for £7,200, but the judge granted them just £1,000 in his ruling. 

Mr Webster has been a keen water skier for 25 years, competing in the UK and the USA before introducing his family to the sport. 

He said: “This is my passion and I spend most of my money on this. My six-year-old son, Harvey, is loving it and can’t wait to go up to the lake whenever we can. 

“It’s all for him, if he woke up and said ‘Daddy I don’t want to go to the lake any more’, that would be it, I’d knock it on the head. 

“Everything about this sport is expensive enough without being challenged by the rangers, especially when we were close enough to the limit to not be penalised if it was on a road.” 

Mr Webster has worked with other boaters to adapt the sport for slower speeds. 

Using larger boards allows skiers to get enough momentum to perform tricks at lower boat speeds.

Julie Wood, Solicitor for the Lake District National Park Authority said: “It is the Authority’s policy to seek to recover the full costs of any investigation and prosecution which have been reasonably incurred from convicted defendants.

“In order to inform this we have to record the work that has been undertaken and the value of this based on our charging out rates and the Civil Court charging rates. 

“Any cost award is at the discretion of the courts and we were awarded £1,000 from Mr Webster, after he admitted the infringement” 

Ms Wood says that the most important part of the services offered by rangers is education and water safety awareness. 

Rangers spoke with 500 people last year to offer advice, pursuing 30 prosecutions, but so far this year there have been fewer cases in courts.