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Businessman defends strong language sign

PUBLISHED: 14:36 01 August 2001 | UPDATED: 15:16 03 March 2010

A SEAFRONT businessman has hit back at people who were outraged by a poster featuring bad language and defended its strong-arm tactics.

A SEAFRONT businessman today hit back at people who were outraged by a poster featuring disgusting language and defended its strong-arm tactics.

David Manning said: "People don't know what we have to put up with down here with thieving and vandalism and sometimes strong words are the only way to get a message across."

The sign was put up by at a refreshments kiosk at the Forum Food Court in Sea Road, Felixstowe.

The sign, which said "If we catch you thieving we will cut your f***ing hands off", was put up by Sandra Gray, who rents her kiosk from Mr Manning.

She said the notice was "a joke" and didn't believe it had offended anyone, despite criticism from town mayor Harry Dangerfield and council officials and concern expressed by police.

But now the sign has been taken down.

Mr Manning said: "The poster has been taken down, but the only people it was meant to offend were the people who it affected – those who are persistently stealing from the kiosks.

"That's who the poster was trying to get the message across to. It's no use putting up a sign saying Please Don't Steal or No Smoking because no-one takes any notice at all.

"If anyone is caught, the punishment doesn't stop them doing it again.

"The mayor said he was disgusted and it was the wrong image. But how would he feel if his house was getting stolen from and burgled every day?

"Would that be OK? These people who were shouting and moaning don't have to deal with the public and some of the idiots we get down here – if they did they would soon change their tune.

"Councillors ought to spend some time on the seafront and see what it is really like and then they would be in touch with reality.

"I pay £20,000 in rates every year but I don't see that money being spent back here to give us a service on this seafront."

Other notices warned customers in a less than polite tone not to let their dogs sniff the sweets and also not to smoke, although offensive language was not used and these are still up.

"There is nothing wrong with those signs – it was only one sign with the foul language. Would you like it if you bought sweets a dog had been sniffing or licking two minutes earlier?" said Mr Manning.

Suffolk Coastal District Council instructed its licensing officers to have an informal chat with the police about the poster, while the police said the signs could be an offence under the Public Disorder Act.

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