Obstruction by traders

Hertfordshire Mercury, 13th February 1931


Ernest William Nicholls , 94 High Street , Ware , greengrocer , was summoned for obstructing the footpath at Ware on January 16 .

Mr H. M. Pratt , instructed by Mr Evander Evans , appeared for the defendant , and pleaded not guilty .

P.c. Harold Hill , stationed at Ware , stated that on Friday January 16, at 8.45 p.m. , he was patrolling the High Street , and in consequence of complaints of obstructing the footpath he had received instructions to keep observation . He called the defendant’s attention to obstructions outside his shop , caused by the display of goods. The extent of the obstruction was 9 feet long and 3 feet wide . There was a cellar flap three feet square in front of the shop .

In reply to Mr Pratt , the Officer said the pavement was 12½ feet wide and the obstruction made people divert their course .

Sergt . A . J. Saunders , stationed at Ware , said he saw the defendant on January 1 and told him complaints had been received regarding the practice of placing goods for sale outside his shop . He asked the defendant to discontinue  putting goods outside his premises, without prejudice to the question of any forecourt which he might possess . Mr Nicholls said he would look into his lease and see about it .

Mr Nicholls , giving evidence , said he was always under the impression that the cellar flap was his own . If he was not allowed to place goods outside his premises it would lower his takings from 10 to 15 per cent . His shop dated back to 1628 , and he understood the previous tenants had put their goods outside for 62 years . He produced a photograph showing goods placed as far out as the cellar flap . He could , however , find no title in the property deeds as to whether the cellar flap was his property .

After retirement , the Chairman , said the Bench were of opinion than an obstruction had been caused , but justice in the case would be met by  payment of the costs . No conviction would be recorded .

Harry Stanion , of 11 West Street , Ware , another greengrocer , pleaded not guilty to obstructing the footpath at Ware , on January 26 .

P.c. Charles Spencer , stationed at Ware , said that on January 26 , at 4.45 p.m. he saw a number of skips and two boxes , which were obstructing the footway to the extent of about 2 feet 6 inches . He called attention to the matter , and defendant said he had put them outside whilst he was cleaning out his shop .

P.s. Saunders , Ware , said he cautioned the defendant on January 1 , and he said he would discontinue the practice .

The Chairman said the Bench took the view that it was a technical offence , and defendant would have to pay the costs .

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