THE owner of a cafe in Colchester has been ordered to pay nearly £3,000 for putting up new signs without planning permission.

On Thursday, Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court ruled Diego Perrone breached planning regulations by placing exterior signs to Cafe NYT, in North Hill.

Despite repeated efforts by Colchester Council over several months to advise Perrone on the rules, the signs were not taken down.

Magistrates heard a series of letters and calls were placed to the Garland Drive, Colchester, resident telling him to remove the signs but these were ignored.

Advice, including asking Perrone to contact the council’s historic building officer and sending him the shop front guide, went unanswered until late March when he requested an extension as he had run out of money.

He was given further time but no planning application materialised.

Mike Lilley, councillor responsible for communities, wellbeing and public safety, said: “Court action is always a last resort, because we prefer people to engage with us to resolve any problems they have.

“However, if they repeatedly ignore planning rules and disregard our advice, we are left with no alternative but to resolve matters through the courts.

“I hope this case serves as a salutary lesson about the importance of following planning guidance and seeking permission before undertaking alteration work to a business property.”

Perrone failed to attend court but was found guilty in his absence.

Magistrates ordered him to pay £2,5000 in fines, costs of £260 and a victim surcharge of £170.