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Men charged with theft of free newspapers

Why?

A jape? Selling the paper for recycling?

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Coat

Re: Why?

"A jape? Selling the paper for recycling?"

The London Evening Standard is edited by Gideon Osborne, so obviously the only suitable use would be for wiping one's derrière.

Presumably they've been charged with theft of public toilet paper...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why?

I'm guessing without any useful details in the article, they could easily have been homeless guys hunting for something to sleep on.

Although not exactly an ideal mattress, cardboard and newspaper do make a workable insulating layer when sleeping on hard concrete surfaces.

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Re: Why?

I woudln't even wipe my arse with anything Gideon is related to.

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Anonymous Coward

Surely this could be argued away by a lawyer - AFAIK there is no asterisk next to the word 'free' on the paper which specifies "Maximum of 1 per customer" or anything like that.

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1 per user

Would it have been OK if they had taken the string from the bundles and tipped them into a wheelbarrow?

I suspect that the real story was that they were trying to censor something in the paper.

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I would have thought so. There is nothing on the paper, or on the stands, stating there is a limit on how many you can take.

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Anonymous Coward

This is England. We use common sense here. It would get really boring if all obvious things had to be written down. If all obvious things were written down, then it would be unreasonable to expect people to read the reams of crap, so we'd be to back to where we started in any case.

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"It would get really boring if all obvious things had to be written down."

OTOH it's useful to quote what you're replying to, especially with the way threading works in these parts.

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"This is England. We use common sense here. It would get really boring if all obvious things had to be written down."

I see your point, but you also can't prosecute for lack of common sense. If there is a maximum number of papers that can be taken then people need to be made aware - without this, the British should always result to tutting and shaking their heads rather than litigation.

We also don't have a great deal of information. Did they steal hundreds of thousands of them first thing in the morning to stop people reading them, or did they pick up a couple of bundles late in the day when they were only going to get recycled anyway. I usually grab quite a few when I'm in the city because it makes quite a nice base layer for my rabbit's hutch. I mean I like the journalism.

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I think it depends on which point the paper was in its distribution. The fact that is handed out "free" eventually does not mean that the owner does not have rights to the stock in the vans, warehouses etc. It's a bit like if I decide to hand out free Snickers for a promotion that does not give you the right to make off with my whole stock from the warehouse.

If on the other hand the papers were taken when they were just left out for people to pick up then it could be an interesting legal case.

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Re: 1 per user

I suspect that the real story was that they were trying to censor something in the paper.

Since 'Jhon Mejia' is clearly a thinly-disguised alias, I too suspect political skulduggery from an opponent of the editor.

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Anonymous Coward

Agreed.... a few months ago, I helped myself to a "couple" of these.. they made excellent packing material when I was moving!

A/C to protect my own ass.

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Surely this could be argued away by a lawyer

The lawyer could argue that by taking the papers they were clearing away a public nuisance.

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It is an evening paper. It gets delivered to the collection points at around 4pm or so. The Metro is the free morning paper.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Surely this could be argued away by a lawyer

I agree. I used to read the Evening Standard, but after a few weeks of trying it I decided it wasn't worth the money. It's a seriously crap paper. As it's "free" and not worth the money even at that price point I'm valuing it as less than zero, so them taking bundles of papers is more like charity than theft.

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"It would get really boring if all obvious things had to be written down. If all obvious things were written down, then it would be unreasonable to expect people to read the reams of crap, so we'd be to back to where we started in any case."

I think you just described the approach we take in the USA. Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to get back to scrolling through this terms-and-conditions document.

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"A/C to protect my own ass."

Were there photos of you and your donkey in the paper then?!

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Anonymous Coward

What matters is, would the proverbial man on the Clapham omnibus have understood that the act was dishonest.

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Many many years ago, not so long after returning from nine years spent living in the US, I was on a train listening to a fellow Briton regaling his mates with stories of his holidays in the US.

And he mentioned those newspaper vending machines that were common all over the US in the 80s (and probably other times, but I don't recall looking for them on my subsequent trips over there(1)). The machine stands out in the street, and you put your coins in the slots on the front, and that unlocks the door, and you take out a newspaper and shut the door.

This chappie, however, commented on the implied difference in American and British culture - his comment was that in Britain, such a machine would be emptied by the first or maybe second person to put coins in, whereas in the US, people dutifully took only the one copy they paid for, even in really dodgy areas.(2)

(1) I first arrived in the US in 1981 on a ninety-day tourist visa. I stayed for nine years.

(2) I'm not saying he was right about this, just that that's what he said. It made me sad, in a way, because it was closer to the truth than most of us would probably like to admit, and it's not a nice thing to have to admit about your own countrymen.

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Re: 1 per user

I think I read, at the time that The Standard went "free", that news agents, shops etc were expected to pay 2p per copy. The rational was that when I entered the shop to collect my free paper I would sometimes buy a high margin Mars bar or similar.

May be the accused were shop owners after free Trigonoceps lure?

(No connection to Mars etc.)

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Same but different

1) So you were an illegal immigrant? Although the fact you're British (and with a name like Steve, probably white) means you were an "expat", which apparently makes you better than me, even though you broke the rules.

2) I've seen a couple of those newspaper jobbies emptied in broad daylight on a busy stripmall, to be sold by the "gainfully unemployed" at intersections. I've seen the bolts sticking up from the concrete where they used to be the day before. UK and US criminals are cut from the same cloth.

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Re: Same but different

"and with a name like Steve, probably white"

Don't count on it. It's also Dell for Sanjay, etc....

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Re: Same but different

"So you were an illegal immigrant? Although the fact you're British (and with a name like Steve, probably white) means you were an "expat", which apparently makes you better than me, even though you broke the rules."

Not at all. It got legally converted into something more lasting, eventually a green card (which isn't made of card, and is actually pink). But it sounds better to say I had a 90 day tourist visa and stayed for nine years.

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Re: 1 per user

Zigaackly!

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Happy

Eh?

...said to have pinched bundles of the London Evening Standard...

I didn't realise that stupidity and bad taste were crimes. This is good news.

For a start, Simon Cowell is going down for hard time...

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Re: Eh?

You could arguably say that he's not stupid at all. He's the only real winner of his "talent" shows (although that answer won't get you any points in a pub quiz).

Bad taste - guilty as hell though.

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Black Helicopters

Seven years for "stealing" free newspaper(s)?

I hope the jury laughs this one out of court.

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Seven years is the maximum sentence awardable by a judge for theft. This particular offense is probably going to result in a small fine and an admonishment not to be seen in front of the courts again, if that.

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Headmaster

There will be no jury, it will be dealt with by either a Judge or some Magistrates.

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Anonymous Coward

Well, it depends on how it's played.

Anything five years or over has to have a jury.

So if they go down the seven year route, there will be one.

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Are they going to be sentenced North of the Border?

Pedants unite

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"an admonishment not to be seen in front of the courts again"

Preferably delivered to the prosecution.

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Reading comprehension 101

There will be no jury, it will be dealt with by either a Judge or some Magistrates.

In the article:

Larezserrano and Mejia are due to appear before Central London Magistrates’ Court this afternoon to answer the charges.

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But they've deprived London commuters the free paper to put on the bottom of their bird cages.

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Anonymous Coward

Surely London commuters only read the Daily Mail or Express for their daily dose of "THOSE FUCKING IMMIGRANTS" or some crap?

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Anonymous Coward

Surely London commuters only read the Daily Mail or Express for their daily dose of "THOSE FUCKING IMMIGRANTS" or some crap?

No, no, THAT is what is used to line bird cages and cat litter trays with. The Metro is used to fill bins. Each has their purpose.

I must admit that this is a wholly new interpretation of the word "free" for me. As far as I can tell, their main crime is impatience - it would have ended up in the bin about 2 hours later anyway. Or would that have been stealing litter? Is that illegal too?

I'm thoroughly confused here: when is free no longer free? More than 1? 10? A pack? Is it now illegal to take one for a colleague who doesn't have the patience to wait until I've paged through mine? Are cafes which take a few copies for clients now committing fine-worthy acts?

Weird. It's clearly a Monday.

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Surely London commuters only read the Daily Mail or Express for their daily dose of "THOSE FUCKING IMMIGRANTS" or some crap?

You don't know much about London, I assume.

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Anonymous Coward

He said commuters, not residents :P

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Anonymous Coward

"Or would that have been stealing litter? Is that illegal too?"

In England a man was successfully prosecuted for a related offence. He would read his home snailmail on the way to work - and put any unwanted items in a litter bin en route. The local council tracked him down through the addressed items. Apparently it is not allowed to dispose of household waste in a public litter bin.

A woman was recently given an on the spot fine of GBP80 for emptying the remains of her drink of coffee down a street drain - before putting the disposable cup in a litter bin. Her alleged offence was "polluting a water course".

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"A woman was recently given an on the spot fine of GBP80 for emptying the remains of her drink of coffee down a street drain - before putting the disposable cup in a litter bin. Her alleged offence was "polluting a water course"

Which although extreme, is a real thing. Surface water (drains and soakaways) and sewers are treated totally differently and the two should never mix (until raw sewage is pumped into the Thames, obvs, but disregard that for a moment).

If it became common practice to do that you could indeed have a watercourse problem. Many drains feed directly into streams and rivers. Next thing you know, you've got unwanted pet tortoises smashed off their face on the remains of a thousand Frappuchinos

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"In England a man was successfully prosecuted for a related offence."

WTF?

"A woman was recently given an on the spot fine of GBP80 for emptying the remains of her drink of coffee down a street drain"

WTF?

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Anonymous Coward

"Which although extreme, is a real thing. Surface water (drains and soakaways) and sewers are treated totally differently and the two should never mix (until raw sewage is pumped into the Thames, obvs, but disregard that for a moment)."

80 squids is a bit extreme, she should have just been told that it might be bad and dont do it again. Sounds like she was actually trying to be respectful. I've seen people throw lit cigarettes in bins even when there are those stub trays on top. Other people throw recyclable waste into the normal bins when there are clearly recycle bins right next to them, and vice versa. Even seen bins where people throw non-empty coffee cups straight into the bin and they leak, so wasps start hanging around. So these are the people who need a fine, not someone who was trying to do what they thought was the right thing.

Maybe we need coffee tipping bins next to the other bins in the street? But then people would just use them for whatever like the existing bins. Looking at the way bins are used, people generally dont care as long as the rubbish is no longer their problem and they are the ones who need fines, so yeah 80 squid is a bit excessive.

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Windows

Maybe we need coffee tipping bins next to the other bins in the street?

And then some enterprising soul will collect the stuff, reheat it, slap a posh name[0] on it and sell it. Maybe even with a system of drains connecting the coffee tipping bins to a central collecting tank for immediate reuse.

[0] merely meaning "street fluid" in some foreign language

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Anonymous Coward

"If it became common practice to do that you could indeed have a watercourse problem."

The Victorians found that the amount of horse traffic in cities was a major pollution problem. Nowadays one could ban horses from streets because they pollute the watercourses with the run-off. How much oil and rubber goes into the drains from motor vehicles?

At least coffee is organic and presumably biodegradable.

Given the number of rats in cities it would be interesting to calculate how much urine they generate in watercourses.

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spot fine of GBP80 for emptying the remains of her drink of coffee down a street drain

Was it Starbucks? If so, then the sentence was laughably light.

I guess not. The word "coffee" was used, not "laughably-undinkable, burnt water masquerading as coffee".

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"Given the number of rats in cities it would be interesting to calculate how much urine they generate in watercourses."

Typically, these prefer being in the sewer rather than groundwater drains, as there's more for them to dine on (congealed kebab shop grease etc). Hence their tiddle isn't really a problem.

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Anonymous Coward

"polluting a water course"

The story about the woman pouring coffee down the drain is rather distorted. She was ticketed for littering by council enforcement officers, who were overstepping their authority and are no doubt incentivised to issue as many tickets as possible. The ticket was (eventually) rescinded on appeal.

Watercourse pollution offences are not dealt with by means of on-the-spot fines.

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Re: Maybe we need coffee tipping bins next to the other bins in the street?

slap a posh name[0] on it and sell it.

Isn't that what Starbucks do already?

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"Apparently it is not allowed to dispose of household waste in a public litter bin."

So why is it legal for marketroids to dispose of non-household waste in my letter box?

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