A fireman has been threatened with legal action for flying a Jolly Roger outside his home for his daughter’s pirate-themed birthday party.
David Waterman, 41, was ordered to take down the flag from his home in Ashtead, Surrey, by Mole Valley council because it breached regulations controlling advertising. The council acted after a complaint by a neighbour.
A letter dated April 21 said he had seven days to remove the 5ft by 3ft banner after which it would be “very likely to attract removal and or prosecution”.
Even though his daughter Madeleine’s eighth birthday has passed, Waterman said he was determined to keep the flag up as a matter of principle.
He paid £95 to apply for advertising consent for the £5 flag, although a letter told him it was “most unlikely that a favourable recommendation would be forthcoming”.
Waterman, who works at Battersea fire station in south London, said he was now in a position where he “couldn’t possibly take down the flag”.
“It’s a £5 flag, not hurting anyone, and they’re probably spending hundreds of pounds of our cash getting me to take it down,” the father-of-four told the Evening Standard. “That could be spent on improving the local area – it’s disgraceful.”
Another neighbour erected a Jolly Roger in support but took it down after receiving the same warning letter from the council.
A spokeswoman for Mole Valley district council said they visited both properties flying the flags and wrote to the owners informing them of the regulations.
The letters stated that although any resident was entitled to fly national flags outside their properties, the Jolly Roger was not allowed under the Outdoor Advertisements & Signs Regulations.
Waterman, a former trooper with the 2nd Royal Tank Regiment, blamed the complaint by his neighbour on a dispute about his children playing outside. –guk
Control freaks have a disease. They need help.