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horncastle News
WWW.horncastleneWs.co.UK est 1885 tel: 01507 526868 Wednesday, February 15, 2012

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POLICE SORRY FOR TERRORISM CLAIM


By Alison Sandilands
alison.sandilands@jpress.co.uk

horncastle animal rights protester gets apology from force

A VIDEO of a Leeds PCSO falsely accusing a Horncastle animal rights activist of being connected to terrorism has become an overnight hit on YouTube.
The film, recorded by campaigner Ali Firth (pictured bottom left) outside Bramley pet supermarket Dogs 4 Us has been viewed more than 5,000 times and has attracted the attention of national media. The star of the show is a PCSO who tells a bemused Ms Firth he can confiscate her camera under the Terrorism Act 2000. When asked to elaborate he said the 49-year-old was with a group that is connected to known terrorists. He refused to explain anymore due to data protection. Prior to this a policewoman had told Ms Firth to stop filming, but she had refused on the grounds she was on public property and not breaking the law. Ms Firth was joining a group of protesters that gathered outside this pet store once a month. They argue puppies should be picked up from animal rescue shelters, not breeders.

Ms Firth said she was upset by the PCSOs accusation on Sunday, January 29. She said: I was filming the Dogs 4 Us building. I didnt want to film the officers but they walked in front of me and then started telling me to stop recording. I have never heard anything like this in the 30 years I have been an animal activist. Never have I been called a terrorist. Its ridiculous. An official complaint has been logged with West Yorkshire Polices Inspector Mark Wheeler, who Ms Firth said had since rung her to apologise. A West Yorkshire Police spokesman said a letter of apology was being issued. He added: We have looked into the circumstances of this incident and have spoken to the officers involved. It is important to note no camera or footage was confiscated. West Yorkshire Police has an excellent track record of facilitating peaceful protest, balancing the rights of protesters with those of private individuals and businesses. Members of the public do not need a permit to film or photograph in public places. Police have no power to stop them unless there is a terrorist threat.

Watch the video online: www.horncastlenews.co.uk

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