Envirocrime - it's tough on the streets.
A MAN accused of dropping an apple core in the street hit out at police last night after being held in a cell for 18 hours.
Plumber Keith Hirst, 54, who has a heart condition, was locked up after he refused to accept a £50 on-the-spot fine from a police community support officer.
“The way I was treated you would have thought I had robbed a bank,” he said. Mr Hirst was arrested after he refused to give his name and address. He was then taken to a police station, where he had his DNA and fingerprints taken.
Police were given the power to take DNA samples from suspects in 2003. But the then Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer, made clear at the time that the power should be used only for serious offences.
Mr Hirst was held during a lunchtime trip to shops in Swinton, Greater Manchester. He was approached by the cycle-riding support officer, who he said was wearing a fluorescent jacket, big sunglasses and a baseball cap and carrying a wad of tickets and a pen.
Mr Hirst, who has had heart surgery and is unable to work, told the officer he was not responsible for dropping the apple core and went into a chemist to buy medication for his disabled wife.
He then claims he emerged to discover five uniformed officers had arrived to arrest him.
He was held at Swinton police station and taken to court the next day handcuffed to a security guard. He appeared before Salford magistrates charged with dropping litter and obstructing a police officer.
He denied both charges, and the obstruction charge has since been dropped by the Crown Prosecution Service. The litter charge is scheduled to go to trial before a district judge in July.
Senior officers yesterday defended the police action and said : “We obviously do not want to arrest people for dropping litter. This man had a terrible attitude and left us with no choice because he refused to give his details.”
Superintendent Ian Palmer, of Greater Manchester police, said: "We work closely with the city council and other partners and take a firm stance against all environmental crime."
"Environmental Crime" - so that makes it all acceptable; Noddy Cops in their silly clothes, banging up and DNA extraction, nothing is too much in the fight against environmental crime.
I hesitate to mention this in case it gives them ideas but how far off can it be before Environmental Thought Crime is on the books? Look at how racism has been fought, it used to just be illegal to hit a black man, then it was a crime to incite violence, then just to be unpleasant and now just to harbour inner thoughts. Surely the environment deserves the same protection.....