Poker player Tony Rogers is facing a massive gamble this week - which could end up with him turning ‘Robin Hood’ to help his neighbours.
For 45-year-old Tony has pledged to use any winnings from a poker tournament in which he’s taking part to buy a strip of ancient woodland near his home in Chanctonbury Road, Burgess Hill, to stop it from being swallowed up by developers.
After accidentally discovering the land was up for sale, Tony alerted his neighbours and managed in a matter of weeks to round up and create a residents’ action group.
He’s also won the backing of Mid Sussex Councillor Richard Cherry who said: “Tony has my full support and that of other town and district councillors and we’ll do everything we can to help the residents ensure that the woodland remains safe for them and future generations.”
Tony himself first hit the headlines last month when he won a holiday worth £1,500 and a chance to win thousands more in cash after taking part in an online poker tournament.
As part of his win, graphic designer Tony is currently taking part in a PokerStars Festival in Lille - where he could be in line for the £400,000 jackpot.
He has promised his neighbours that he will pledge any winnings from the poker tournament to buy the 2.5 acres of ancient woodland behind his and 20 neighbours’ homes in Chanctonbury Road that has been put up for sale and is at risk of development.
He is due to return from Lille on July 24 - and the woodland auction is scheduled to take place the following day.
A spokesman for PokerStars said: “A similar piece of land was levelled about 18 months ago.
“Tony bumped into the developer that bought the land nearby and this alerted him to the potential risk to the woodland behind his house.
“Tony has told a few of his residents about his poker aspiration and they are cheering him on.
“Most of the neighbours are elderly.”
The threatened land is situated to the east of Chanctonbury Road, to the rear of numbers 45 to 85, close to Burgess Hill town centre.
Land and property auctioneers Clive Emson are marketing the land as ‘suitable for a variety of uses including garden extensions and amenity space, subject to all necessary consents being obtainable.’
The land has a price guide of £25,000-£30,000, plus fees.
Clive Emson, on its website, urges: “Interested applicants are advised to make their own enquiries with the Local Planning Authority, Mid Sussex District Council.”
The land is being offered ‘freehold with vacant possession.’
The auction is being held on Tuesday July 25 at 11am at the The Hilton Brighton Metropole hotel.
At the same auction, a car parking space in Crawley is being offered for sale - with an asking price of £30,000.