Scales tipped against 'metric martyr' butcher

A BUTCHER'S "metric martyr" campaign to defy European regulations and sell his meat in old fashioned pounds and ounces has finally been defeated.

Edward Smith, 64, had been in conflict with trading standards officers for several years over his refusal to stop using Imperial scales at his shop in Rawmarsh, Rotherham.

He had successfully rejected several attempts to stop him using the scales and, he claims, a threat of prosecution was never followed up.

But yesterday a trading standards official arrived at his shop with a warrant issued at Rotherham Magistrates' Court allowing him access to inspect the scales.

In practice, that meant official Peter Doxey was able to use a small hammer and punch to mark a lead seal on the side of the electronic unit, rendering it illegal to use.

The European Union was responsible for instigating a rule that loose produce must be sold using metric measures and the Government introduced the law seven years ago.

Mr Smith initially denied trading standards official Mr Doxey access behind the counter of his shop yesterday and a 30-minute stand-off followed with a police constable who accompanied the official calling in support from a colleague.

Mr Smith eventually allowed Mr Doxey to perform his duties.

Yesterday afternoon he was using a metric scale, but insists he is determined to continue the fight to have the situation overturned so he can return to Imperial measures.

He claims wide support within the community. Last night he said: "I will use my metric scales, but will carry on fighting this through Europe.

"It is important for British people to be able to do what they want to do without feeling oppressed."

Neil Herron, campaign director for the pressure group Metric Martyrs, said: "If this is at the top of the list of Rotherham Council's priorities it is a sorry state."

Yorkshire Euro MP Godfrey Bloom turned up to support Mr Smith yesterday and said: "I think this is appalling. I wonder what sort of country we are living in."

Rotherham Council insists it had to act because it had been unlawful to sell loose goods in Imperial units since January 2000.