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Do they know it's Christmas? Council scrooges tell trader to turn off carols

Birmingham | News | Published:

A market trader from Great Barr who has run a flower stall for more than 40 years has been warned he faces court action if he doesn't stop playing Christmas carols.

Allan Poole, aged 53, runs his stall in Birmingham city centre and has been threatened with legal action from council officials who tried to ban him playing festive tunes.

But Mr Poole defied the council's warnings and has continued to blast out his Christmas jingles alongside his special festive display.

The row started when Mr Poole was approached by two street wardens about the carols but he never thought it would go this far.

So he was stunned to receive a letter from Birmingham City Council's environmental department, entitled Control of Pollution Act 1974.

It warned that he was in breach of section 62:1b of the act and accused him of advertising his business through the sound system.

Mr Poole, who raises money for Birmingham Children's Hospital with his festive display on the edge of the city's famous German Christmas markets, said: "This decision is just complete and utter nonsense.

"When they gave me the letter and told me to stop playing the carols I was just gobsmacked.

"I'll keep playing my Christmas songs and if they don't like it they can take me to court. It's just some Scrooge council officials being jobsworths - the street patrol officers don't have a problem, we get on just fine.

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"It's only a few carols - it's Christmas for goodness sake, why on earth shouldn't I play Christmas music.

"I'm just trying to spread some Christmas cheer and get into the festive spirit. It's supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year, and the council are trying to ruin it."

Christmas enthusiast Mr Poole, has played his songs every year for more than a decade. He is the third generation to run the family stall along with his wife Samantha and children Ben, Deanne and Roxanne.

A Birmingham City Council spokesman said: "It is an offence under the Control of Pollution Act 1974 to use a loudspeaker in the street for the purpose of advertising any entertainment, trade or business.

"This is national legislation which applies to all businesses, regardless of what they are selling, but does not apply to buskers or street preachers who are not classed as traders under this piece of legislation.

"Council officers have already spoken to Mr Poole about this matter, and we have also written to him to advise him that breaching this legislation could result in legal action being taken against him."

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