Words better than action

PUBLISHED: 19:11 28 May 2008 | UPDATED: 15:46 11 May 2010

LET me for a moment return to the days when I happened to be a town councillor. Then we seemed to have endless discussions about fly-posting. We were worried about the arrival of posters plastered all over the place. We called for action: no, we demanded

LET me for a moment return to the days when I happened to be a town councillor.

Then we seemed to have endless discussions about fly-posting. We were worried about the arrival of posters plastered all over the place.

We called for action: no, we demanded action.

Such posters seemed untidy and tatty - and were always left in place weeks after the event they were supposed to be promoting.

Surely, we thought, something could be done. After all, there were rules about illegal advertising, and laws about spoiling the environment.

And that is not to mention the safety question when these posters could cause a distraction.

Obviously, anyone placing these posters on lamp-posts and walls (I believe it was being done under the cover of darkness) did as much as possible to disguise any identity.

Any details about the organiser or promoter of the "advertised" event rarely appeared on the poster, nor did those responsible for printing such a piece of work.

It was, I suppose, what we would describe as a lack of evidence.

But we pursued the matter and called on the district council - which had the powers to take action - to intervene and begin to prosecute those who continually placed these posters around the place.

I do not believe that there was any success.

Now we come to the ludicrous situation last week, when to support the Royston May Fayre, an innocuous poster was placed on the grass verge at the junction of Newmarket Road and Melbourn Road.

It was actually seen, so I believe, by a licensing officer from the district council, who believed it was right to report such a matter, and even consider a prosecution.

In other words, the person responsible would be up before a bench of magistrates, and after admitting to such a misdemeanour, would be given a criminal record.

It's ironic that those in the past who have placed dozens of illegal posters around the vicinity have not once, I believe, been prosecuted.

In a case such as this, was it too much to ask that common sense prevailed? It would have been better, surely, to have had a quiet word about removing the offending poster.

Maybe it's a case of someone being over- enthusiastic when it comes to be seen to be doing their job.

It will be interesting to see what will happen when those other illegal posters begin appearing again.

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