Police force campaigner to remove 'bollocks to Brexit' sticker from car

PUBLISHED: 11:10 25 November 2019 | UPDATED: 11:59 25 November 2019

The police officer initially wanted them to remove the 'bollocks to Brexit' stickers while pulled over on the hard shoulder of the M25, claims Peter Cook. Picture: Peter Cook

The police officer initially wanted them to remove the 'bollocks to Brexit' stickers while pulled over on the hard shoulder of the M25, claims Peter Cook. Picture: Peter Cook

Peter Cook

A pro-EU campaigner says he was ordered to remove a 'bollocks to Brexit' sticker from the side of the car he was driving by a policeman he described as "deranged".

Become a Supporter

The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism

The car involved belongs to anti-Brexit group campaign group EU Flag Mafia. Picture: supplied by Peter CookThe car involved belongs to anti-Brexit group campaign group EU Flag Mafia. Picture: supplied by Peter Cook

Business consultant Peter Cook and a friend were "minding their own business" on the M25 near Brentwood, he said, when a police car signalled to them.

Unsure of whether the officer wanted them to give way or pull over, the driver pulled over onto the hard shoulder.

The bright yellow Mini Cooper, which is borrowed from anti-Brexit group EU Flag Mafia, is emblazoned with an all-caps "bollocks to Brexit" message.

When the police officer got out he was visibly angry, said Cook. "He was in a rage," he said. "I would say deranged."

The officer immediately said he was going to give the driver five points on his licence for erratic driving - which Cook attributes to the earlier confusion.

"But he quickly moved on from that to his real issue," alleged Cook. "Which is that this sign is a public order offence."

The policer officer then demanded that they remove the decals from the side of the car immediately, on the hard shoulder of the M25.

READ: Airline tells passenger to remove 'bollocks to Brexit' hat before he can fly

"This would have put all of us at risk of death and I consider this both lacking in proportionality and materiality," said Cook.

Believing the officer was acting beyond the law, and concerned for their safety, Cook dialled 999. Eventually the officer agreed to let them peel off the sticker in a safer spot.

"He's clearly very aggressive this guy," said Cook in a video he tweeted from the scene. "I think he's just trying to trump up a charge ... he's probably a Brexit person. This is absolutely shocking.

"The long arm of the law is being used to shut down any form of protest."

After the pair spent 20 minutes removing "B" "O" and "L", the officer seemed to think that was enough and let them move on. The car now says "locks to Brexit".

The policeman then said he would overlook the allegation of erratic driving and would not apply any points to the licence.

A spokesperson for Essex Police said: "We are trying to identify the officer from the video footage to establish the circumstances around what happened. In the meantime, we would encourage the driver to get in touch with us."

The New European has also asked Essex Police for its position on whether or not "bollocks to Brexit" signs are a public order offence.

Cook said he intends to register a complaint and will make a request for compensation, asking Essex Police to make a £300 charitable donation in recognition of the cost of re-applying the decal.

"This has incurred costs of £300 plus other losses," said Cook, pointing out that as it wasn't their car they didn't even have permission to tamper with the stickers. "He was probably saying it's an offence under section 5(1) and (6) of the Public Order Act 1986, in which case we should have cautioned."

Cook acknowledges that the "bollocks to Brexit" slogan can be divisive and said that he will be using an asterisk in future to soften the message.

But he thinks being made to spend an hour picking the letters off with their bare hands was overkill and a poor use of police time.

Cook hit the headlines earlier in the election campaign as he stood a cat called Stan as a parliamentary candidate.

MORE: Anti-Brexit cat standing in general election

Stan is a candidate for the UCAT party in the constituency of Gillingham and Rainham.

"Stan wasn't actually that concerned," said Peter. "He was asleep the whole time."

Become a Supporter

The New European is proud of its journalism and we hope you are proud of it too. We believe our voice is important - both in representing the pro-EU perspective and also to help rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.

Become a supporter

You've seen the news, now discover the story

The New European is committed to providing in-depth analysis of the Brexit process, its implications and progress as well as celebrating European life.

Try 13 weeks for £13

Latest Articles

Most Read

latest issue

ANTI-BREXIT EVENTS

Find your nearest anti-Brexit campaigning activities, talks, protests and events nationwide.