Direct action can be tempting but it can have its perils, as Rupert Fawdry’s story reveals.
‘Two policemen recently arrived at my home on a Saturday afternoon, when I was out. This seems to be connected to an incident last July at the Milton Keynes INTU shopping centre. I am an 80-year-old retired Maternity Care & Gyn NHS Consultant. I had parked my car for a short time in the open-air, 5th floor rooftop car park. There seemed to be few people around, but the massive noise of muzac was loud enough to keep patrons of hotel opposite awake and even to damage one’s hearing, especially that of elderly people. By chance I had some secateurs in my car to cut back brambles obstructing footpaths. Rather than ignore this serious danger to health, I reached up and snipped the wiring of the three nearest loudspeakers. A few days later I tried to use the same car park but the barrier would not open for me (thus holding up several cars behind me). After about half an hour two very fierce security men arrived. They proceeded to accuse me of criminal damage on the unlikely grounds that the unbearable loud reverberating loudspeakers were essential for use in an emergency. They called the police and I then had to wait for about an hour for two policemen to arrive. I was interviewed in the main Milton Keynes police station. I contacted a local journalist to publicise the incident but for the present she is unable to warn the public as the matter is still sub judice. It now seems probable that my number plate was recognised by Intu when I recently used a free parking space in the open just outside the actual shopping centre, going to a restaurant in the next block, but I am a bit puzzled as to whether this constitutes trespassing on Intu property.
Chatting later to others about the incident, almost every older person I have spoken to backs my action and wishes they were sufficiently rebellious to have done the same. One commented that if I came up with the possibility of designing a laser device to zap public Muzak loudspeakers they would help provide financial backing. And if I do get fined they would be happy to contribute to any Crowdsource initiative to pay it off for me. ‘
Update: Rupert Fawdry was finally given a police caution in August 2021, a year after his ‘offence’.