84-year old WWII veteran gets police ticket for pavement cycling… and they called for back up to issue it too

Officers call for a little extra help to the Halifax before ticketing WW II veteran

by Simon_MacMichael   August 22, 2010  

road.cc news

A Lancashire pensioner who served in the Army in the Second World War was followed into a bank by two Police Community Support Officers (PCSOs) who accused him of cycling on the pavement, and summoned a police van to support them.

The 84-year-old, who was eventually issued with a £30 fixed penalty notice, has now sent it back to the Chief Constable of Greater Manchester Police, whom he has invited him to take him to court.

According to the Manchester Evening News, 84-year-old James Gresty, a grandfather of seven and great-grandfather of four, had been making one of his regular visits to the Sale branch of the Halifax, when the pair of PCSOs walked into the bank after him and claimed they had seen him cycling on the pavement, asking him to step outside and explain himself.

When he refused, they called for help, and shortly afterwards, regular officers arrived and Mr Gresty was issued with the fixed penalty notice.

Mr Gresty, who says that he had got off his bike and pushed it along the pavement and into the branch told the newspaper: "I was dumbfounded and couldn’t believe all these officers were wasting their time on me – an 84-year-old man who has never done anything wrong in his life.”

He continued: "You’d have thought I was raiding the bank, given the way they descended on the place. I bet they sent more officers than they would if I’d been robbing it.

"I felt like a criminal, they were very aggressive towards me and their behaviour was discourteous, but I knew I was in the right so I stood my ground. I may be 84 but I’m not a pushover," he added.

He said that he had suspected something wasn’t right when he noticed the PCSOs observing him from across the road, shortly before they followed him into the bank.

"They said they’d seen me cycling on the pavement,” he explained. “I told them I’d got off my bike and pushed it in but they didn’t listen. They asked me to go outside with them, I said no and then I saw one of them phoning for back-up. The next minute, a police van turned up with two more of them. It was ridiculous. The officers took my details and gave me this slip saying I had to pay £30 for cycling on the pavement,” he added.

"I was so angry that I put the slip in an envelope and sent it to the chief constable. I wrote that I’m not going to pay and they’ll have to take me to court. I doubt any court in the land would rule in their favour," continued Mr Gresty.

Since the incident, the retired grocer, who served with the York and Lancaster regiment in World War II, has returned to the location to see if other cyclists are being issued with fixed penalty notices.

"I’ve seen lots of people on their bikes on the pavement but I’ve never seen anyone being given a fine,” he told the nespaper.

"They’re obviously having some kind of a clampdown on it but they picked the wrong person with me. I use my bike to get out and about – they’re not going to stop me from doing that," he added.

One witness to the incident said that staff at the Halifax had tried to help Mr Gresty. "It was disgusting that this old chap was followed into the bank and confronted like he was a criminal," he added.

Chief Superintendent Mark Roberts commented: "People cycling through the pedestrian area in Sale town centre has been a persistent problem and we have received many complaints from the public. We regularly run initiatives to tackle this and always receive a positive response. In the past week we have been addressing the problem again after an 82-year-old woman was knocked down, suffering facial injuries.

"In this particular case a PCSO tried to speak to Mr Gresty after he had ridden his bike through the pedestrian area. He refused to speak to the PCSO and after a number of attempts to speak to him from other officers failed he was issued with a fixed penalty notice,” he continued.

"I appreciate people’s concerns of how this may have appeared and as in any case where people feel that they have been inappropriately issued with a fixed penalty this will be reviewed," he added.
 

16 user comments

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Ridiculous

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2132 posts]
22nd August 2010 - 21:15

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I hope this goes to court and the Police lose the case and get a ripping for wasting time and money, although I would imagine that the Chief Constable will just put it in the bin to avoid further embarassment.

Did Nightrider 2013 for Parkinson's UK, doing it again this year just for the fun of it and to raise more money.

jova54's picture

posted by jova54 [584 posts]
22nd August 2010 - 22:24

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Cycling through a pedestrian area is not the same as cycling on the pavement. The Traffic Regulation Order for the pedestrian area must specifically ban cycling, and display appropriate signs. In any case, cyclists usually mix fine with pedestrians.

Furthermore, the fixed penalty notices are intended for irresponsible and dangerous cyclists, not children or the elderly who may be using the pavement out of fear of the road.

two wheels good; four wheels bad

posted by cat1commuter [1331 posts]
22nd August 2010 - 22:43

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good to see the "support" officers using their powers
with due diligence and resposibility .... A$"$"% holes !

still on the 3rd switch-back of Bwlch !

posted by therevokid [679 posts]
23rd August 2010 - 8:22

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CPSOs do not inspire confidence.

OldRidgeback

posted by OldRidgeback [2132 posts]
23rd August 2010 - 10:54

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Being a former Sale resident the lack of cycling provision within the pedestrian zone is annoying to say the least, especially when you understand the sheer width of it.

To put this story in context, the actions by the CPSO's are clearly in response to this serious incident, however common sense should have prevailed you feel with the gentleman in question.

http://www.messengernewspapers.co.uk/news/8335926.Sale_police_tackle_pav...

The incident itself took place on a main road pavement and not within the pedestrianised area.

posted by jak001 [53 posts]
23rd August 2010 - 12:07

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Plastic coppers on a power trip.... what a waste of time and resource..... |If you're power crazy, become a traffic warden instead D Oh

posted by martyntr [106 posts]
23rd August 2010 - 13:05

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He probably should have said he was from Eastern Europe, they would have just let him go Wink

posted by David French [49 posts]
23rd August 2010 - 19:39

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Bunch of twats looking for easy wins to get points and so improve their KPIs. Angry

podgethepuffer's picture

posted by podgethepuffer [18 posts]
25th August 2010 - 18:19

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That's the British Police for you, easy to target an 82 year old man rather than a drug dealer round the corner. Another example of Broken Britain

posted by duncanr [9 posts]
26th August 2010 - 8:15

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Partially agree there is serious crime going on-send the officers to ticket drug barons instead...

And if he wasn't affecting anyone then commonsense prevails.

I like my bike but it needs a hidden 25cc motor Smile

Fish_n_Chips's picture

posted by Fish_n_Chips [325 posts]
26th August 2010 - 9:37

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I recently saw two PCSO on bikes. Marvellous, what a good example!
...they were wobbling along on the pavement. Oh, marvellous. It was not quite dusk, should-have-lights-really kind of conditions. I did, they didn't Wink

posted by stever [51 posts]
26th August 2010 - 9:47

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I'm expecting to be flamed for this.
I find it ironic that he'll whine about wasting resources while wasting the chief constable's time on such petty matter rather than through proper channel. Never done anything wrong in his life, ha, yeah right, how self righteous. Being old n in WW2 has no bearing to matters, he didn't have to be so rude and played his old card as an excuse to get away with things. Probably would have got a gentle chat and advice instead if he wasn't so impertinent. Only someone who have done wrong would keep a beady eye. I hope he gets fined and learn to cycle where he's suppose to.

posted by Alankk [121 posts]
26th August 2010 - 19:35

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Alankk wrote:
I'm expecting to be flamed for this.
I find it ironic that he'll whine about wasting resources while wasting the chief constable's time on such petty matter rather than through proper channel. Never done anything wrong in his life, ha, yeah right, how self righteous. Being old n in WW2 has no bearing to matters, he didn't have to be so rude and played his old card as an excuse to get away with things. Probably would have got a gentle chat and advice instead if he wasn't so impertinent. Only someone who have done wrong would keep a beady eye. I hope he gets fined and learn to cycle where he's suppose to.

Where's my napalm...

It's an example of some bigger issues such as police and government using laws intended for one thing to misapply them in different situations.

In this case they are also taking part in what seems to be a general pillorying of cyclists by mindless idiots like PSOs and local councillors as an easy target, completely out of proportion to the risks.

abudhabiChris's picture

posted by abudhabiChris [499 posts]
26th August 2010 - 21:17

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Light toasting Smile

… he didn't have to be so rude, but being rude isn't against the law, luckily or I'd be in deep shit, offensive behaviour obviously is, but then if he'd behaved offensively no doubt they'd have been happy to nick him for that too.

Bottom line is some people, including some people in uniform, don't like cyclists and they'll quite happily pick on one even if he is 84 and doing very little harm.

As abudhabiChris says, both the punishment and the way it was meted out were way out of proportion to the "crime" there's a lot more useful things those PCSOs could have been doing to make the streets of their neighbourhood safer.

Tony Farrelly's picture

posted by Tony Farrelly [4132 posts]
26th August 2010 - 22:19

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Harsh Alankk! Cut the man some slack! He's never hurt anyone except possibly during the war, when that was the name of the game and positively encouraged when it came to the enemy. For all you know he could have been part of an elite war time unit of crack pavement cyclists sent sent deep in to enemy territory to disrupt their lines of communication… Hitler probably had a thing about pavement cyclists a fact the allies played on to harry the German flank.

Maybe old habits die hard. Maybe.

Darned if I do…

Mr Sock's picture

posted by Mr Sock [152 posts]
27th August 2010 - 17:15

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