Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Market Trader,79,given an Asbo for Swearing at Council Inspectors

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Market Trader,79,given an Asbo for Swearing at Council Inspectors

Article excerpt

Byline: ANDREW GILLIGAN

YOU may have heard of the Asbos banning people from looking over their neighbours' hedges or making sarcastic remarks in public.

But even by these standards, the case of George Mothersole is incredible.

The 79-year-old has been a trader at London's East Street market for 45 years.

Until last month, that is, when he was given an interim Asbo by Southwark council and banned from even entering the street.

"I don't know what to do with myself, to be honest," he says. "I'm at a loss. It's my whole life."

Mr Mothersole's offence was to swear - not at his customers, who have testified to his "politeness", but at the council officials whom he and the other traders claim are trying to sanitise the market. In its application magistrates for the

Asbo, Southwark used statements by its market inspectors, or "street care officers", saying the 5ft tall pensioner had "intimidated" them in what appears to be another case of the law being used to silence people with inconvenient views.

Black activist and nightclub owner Ray Stevenson has been served with a gag-

ging order by the council after he protested at a meeting about an apparently corrupt planning failure that he says cost him his business.

Southwark admits the failure and has suspended two officers but says it did not cause the collapse of the club.

Mr Stevenson, who is suing the borough, says: "There is a direct link between people who expose the council and people who are targeted by it." As for Mr Mothersole, he admits that he is "outspoken".

He has picketed and interrupted council meetings.

At the market, he called one Southwark official a "long streak of piss" and told another to "f*** off back to South Africa". (The last remark is being used by the council as the basis for a charge of racism. The official concerned was born in Britain and is white.) The council also accuses Mr Mothersole of "assault," claiming he jostled two market officials, which he denies. …

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