Police use pepper spray on Eastbourne Christmas elf
A Christmas “elf” was grappled to the floor by police using batons and pepper spray after he was caught selling mistletoe without a licence.Hat Tip The Argus
Ex-Royal Marine Paul Douglas, 46, rolled on the ground in a tussle with a uniformed officer in front of dozens of horrified shoppers on Christmas Eve last year, a court was told.
He had been selling sprigs of mistletoe and holly dressed in fluffy red trousers and a Christmas pudding hat in Eastbourne.
Council enforcement officer Mark Jobling called 999 after Douglas refused to give his name and address when asked to show his pedlar’s licence.
PC Stephen Kimber, who was on foot patrol, arrived at the scene and asked Douglas for his details.
Eastbourne magistrates was told how Douglas pushed him and a struggle ensued.
PC Kimber used his nightstick and captor spray to bring Douglas under control. The officer was unhurt, but Douglas, of Manor Road, Hampden Park, Eastbourne, claimed he was left covered in bruises.
He was arrested at the scene and spent nine hours in the cells.
He denied obstructing a police officer but was convicted following a one-day trial.
Magistrates fined him £200 and ordered him to pay £100 court costs but Douglas is now appealing against his conviction.
He said: "All I was doing was selling holly for £3.50 and mistletoe for £1.50. It was Christmas Eve, everyone was out doing their last minute shopping and I was having a bit of fun.
“Lots of people were buying from me and I was doing my best to make them feel festive.
“But it was not nice for them to see me being bashed with a police baton and pepper sprayed. What a sight for children on Christmas Eve, Santa’s little helper in a dust up with a police officer.
“I wasn’t a threat, I was just arguing that I wasn’t doing any harm. The police reaction was well over the top.”
At Lewes Crown Court, Judge Richard Hayward adjourned the appeal until February – but branded the case "a waste of money".