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Steve Thoburn
Peter Collins
The City with STONES at heart
The Shrimpton Opinion


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My name is Neil Herron. I am a fishmonger at Park Lane Market in Sunderland, which is situated 100 yards away from the Trading Standards Offices at Sunderland Civic Centre.I am an honest, hard-working, law abiding citizen and member of the business community, with a wife, Lynn, two sons, Troy and Raigan and a mortgage.

I have spent sixteen long years building up my business and raising my family, teaching my children the value of hard work, honesty,integrity, loyalty and the difference between right and wrong.

Now, according to Sunderland Trading Standards Weights and Measures Department, I am a CRIMINAL. They have deemed it a CRIMINAL OFFENCE for me to sell my goods in pounds and ounces here on British soil.

Yes, read it again !

It beggars belief.

They have bullied, intimidated and harassed decent, loyal and honest traders into submitting to compulsory metrication against theirs and their customers wishes.


But more importantly, the PUBLIC DO NOT WANT IT !

As a nation we think imperially, whether it be the speed we drive, the distance we travel, the pint we drink, our height or the weight of your baby, Mr. Blair.
We traders are not Luddites, we are businessmen responding to consumer demand, and all those consumers demand to be served in pounds and ounces and not in a system which is alien and confusing to them. No more, no less! There may come a time in the future when consumer demand changes, and as we deal with the public daily on a one to one basis we will be first to know. That time is not now and nor will it be imposed upon us by draconian methods.

The whole issue here is about freedom of choice. I believe we live in a democracy, not a police state.

When I was served with The Notice of Seizure of my imperial equipment by Trading Standards Officer Mr. Redding I questioned his legal authority. I was told in no uncertain terms that I was breaking the law and would face fines and criminal penalties if I continued to sell goods in pounds and ounces after my 28 day notice. When asked he could not tell me which law I was breaking.

I wrote an article for the local press after my second verbal "we re coming to get your scales a week on Friday Mr. Herron,"warning. They ran with the story. The public had now been told of the skulduggery that was occurring. Their response was immediate and overwhelming. Letters and calls of support started rolling in. The UK Independence Party contacted me and offered financial support should I be made the "Test Case." We had the backing of The British Weights and Measures Association.

It was also pointed out that under Section 1 of The 1985 Weights and Measures Act ,I was permitted to sell loose goods in pounds and ounces. I was not a criminal, an Act of Parliament said so.

Then five days after the article, a friend of mine, Steven Thoburn the Southwick greengrocer, hed three sets of imperial scales siezed by two Trading Standards Officers, Mr. Redding and Mr. Fallon, with the accompaniment of two Police Officers. He was threatened with arrest for a breach of the peace if he resisted.

Steven rang me. We now had our martyr, but we were determined to stand together. If Steven Thoburn was to be branded a criminal, then so would I.

He would not stand alone. We rallied the press and the media. Support was now national.I again questioned the legality and morality of the council officers, actions.The challenge went out to Trading Standards. "Come and get me.You know where I am. The wanted posters are all around the city."

The Sun newspaper and The Mail are both giving fantastic support.
Steven and I have been overwhelmed by the support not only in Sunderland, where it is not measured in percentages, it is total,but also from all over the country. A petition has been started at both our shops and people have been queueing to sign.

The British public have awakened to the issue.

It is an issue that also involves the European Question, bigger than our right to sell goods in pounds and ounces, and one that could ultimately involve the loss of our culture, our currency,our heritage and our nation. If this is the way the battle will be fought, by underhand,devious, intimidatory tactics of government appointed officials, then the country is now awake and ready.

Tell us the truth Mr. Blair. Give us the facts. What is the ultimate agenda? What else will you allow Europe to take from us and what will we receive in return? I have explained to my children why their Dad is not a criminal.

I challenge you Mr. Blair and your government to tell them why I am.

It has taken two market traders from Sunderland to make the nation sit up and listen. A nation whose fathers and grandfathers fought in two world wars to allow us to have our freedom, whether it be to voice our opinion or to sell a pound of kippers, or express our culture.

Do not let this country of ours get sold down the river without fighting for our sovereignty and heritage.

Steven and I now know that we are not the lone voice we were when we first made our stand.


Yours Imperially,

Neil Herron.
July 2000


Steve Thoburn

The City with STONES at Heart

Michael Shrimpton's Opinion


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