Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Ice Cream King Fined after Losing His Cool with Rival

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Ice Cream King Fined after Losing His Cool with Rival

Article excerpt

A ICE cream supremo smashed up a rival's van with a crowbar after his competitor was passing off Aldi dessert as his own luxury brand.

David Stevenson, from Skelton, has been fined for threatening behaviour and criminal damage, after ending up in court when a bitter business spat erupted into violence.

Stevenson bought the Trillo Ice-cream brand from cornet king Neil Trillo, whose family brought it over from Italy before the First World War, for PS500,000.

Mr Trillo was still allowed to sell Trillo ice cream from his van - provided he bought it from Stevenson and sold nothing else.

While Stevenson, a local farmer, built Trillo ices up into a thriving business over 10 years he also allowed its inventor to use his pitches in Whitby, North Yorkshire, to park his van.

Relations began to chill when Stevenson was ordered by council bosses to stop loaning his slots to Mr Trillo.

Mr Trillo then annoyed Stevenson by pinching his pitches on weekends - when no council staff were on duty to stop him.

Stevenson, who paid the council PS30,000 a year for the licenses, said Mr Trillo just made excuses when he complained about the poaching. But when Stevenson found out his rival was not even selling proper Trillo ice cream, but a much cheaper supermarket brand, the conflict boiled over.

Stevenson smashed his rival's van with a crowbar in front of stunned customers on Whitby prom.

Mr Trillo's petrified vendor Robert Killam yanked the van window shut when he saw Stevenson storming up.

But the businessman then went to the boot of his car and returned with a huge crowbar he used to attack the van, Scarborough magistrates heard.

Once inside, he swiped the day's takings and yanked the wire out of the plug to the freezer containing the "inferior" ices, the court heard.

The fracas erupted on Whitby's North Promenade. Prosecutor Martin Butterworth said: "There were people who were buying ice creams but they were ushered away.

"Stevenson said they were closed and were not selling any more ice creams. He gathered up the "Trillo" signs and put them in the boot of his car. …

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