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Article posted May 14 2008, 11:46 PM Category: Big Brother/Orwellian Source: The Daily Mail Print

Man spends 18 hours in police cell and has his DNA taken for 'dropping an apple core'


He only popped out to run a couple of errands for his disabled wife.

But Keith Hirst ended up spending the night in a police cell after being accused of dropping an apple core.

Despite strenuously denying the allegation, the former plumber, who has a heart condition, was taken into custody by up to five uniformed officers and had his DNA and fingerprints taken.

By then his worried family were calling hospitals, fearing he had been in an accident.

It wasn't until nearly 11pm that he was able to ring them and explain what had happened.

He was finally released after 18 hours behind bars.

Mr Hirst, 54, said yesterday he would fight to clear his name in a case which could leave him with a criminal record and cost taxpayers thousands of pounds.

"The way I was treated you would have thought I had robbed a bank," he said.

"My family are law-abiding people and I would help if I saw a gang of yobs attacking a police officer.

"This kind of incident does not help in improving relations between the community and police."

Mr Hirst had just come out of a post office near his home in Swinton, Greater Manchester, and was heading for the chemists to collect his wife's prescription when a community support officer accused him of littering.

He said the officer wanted to issue him with a 50 on-the-spot fine for littering.

"There was a chap there in a fluorescent jacket, big sunglasses, and a baseball cap, on a bike, with a wad of tickets and a pen. He said, 'Why did you drop that apple core?' and I told him I didn't drop an apple core.

"He then said he wanted my name and address. He was an over-zealous young lad, baying to give me a ticket.

"I told him I was on my way to the shops but would be walking back that way if he wanted to speak to me later."

Mr Hirst says that when he emerged from the chemists he claimed he was surrounded by five uniformed officers.

"I said I had done nothing wrong and so was not telling them who I was," he said.

He was taken to the police station, where his belongings were taken and his DNA and finger-prints recorded before being locked in the cells overnight.

He twice had to be seen by a doctor after complaining of dizziness and chest pains.

After being charged with littering and obstructing a police officer, the following morning he was handcuffed to a security guard to appear before local magistrates.

His wife, whose disability is due to a back problem, said: "The first I knew about it was when Keith called at 10.45pm.

"He'd gone to the Post Office at lunchtime. We did not know where he was and my daughter had been ringing hospitals. The whole case is ridiculous."

A police source claimed Mr Hirst had flung the apple core across the road, almost hitting someone.

The source added that Mr Hirst refused to give his details to a single officer called in by the PCSO as back-up after he behaved rudely and aggressively. This officer requested two more officers to arrest him.

If he had provided his address he would have been released from custody, the source added.

The obstruction charge was subsequently dropped but Mr Hirst is due to face trial before a district judge for the alleged littering offence last month.

He could face a 2,500 fine or up to six months in prison.

Superintendent Ian Palmer, of Greater Manchester Police, said: "Littering is an offence. We work tirelessly to ensure the streets are not only safe but also clean."

Earlier this year, the Daily Mail told how Kate Badger, 25, from Wolverhampton, was taken to court after being accused of throwing an apple core from her car.

The case, which dragged on for a year at a cost of at least 2,800, was later dropped.

Last month, Sarah Davies, 20, was fined 75 after dropping a piece of sausage roll she was feeding to her four-year-old daughter in Hull.

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Comments 1 - 9 of 9 Add Comment Page 1 of 1

Posted: May 15 2008, 8:33 PM

I just saw the headline and thought Daily Mail. Hegelmania, emotional rollercoasters R us. Very bad for you brain, these are top notch risk manufacturers and always to be read noting the source. They always want something, it is always your mind.
Bush Hater

Posted: May 16 2008, 9:29 PM

6772 Shit, you Brits are crazier than the asshole in the American white house.

Posted: May 17 2008, 11:10 AM

6760 Obviously the police there don't have enough to do or are suffering from some feelings of inadequacy. This is just another example of big brother gone bonkers......

Posted: May 17 2008, 8:35 PM

The story was in the Daily Mail, I don't presume it is true, they are liars. At one time I checked out some of their stories, they were turned out to be complete fabrications I presented evidence of the same in one instance face to face with the Daily Mail 'reporter' responsible. It is a fiction factory.

Posted: Jun 21 2008, 4:31 AM

7572 You control the police. They CANNOT TELL YOU WHAT TO DO without the consent of large numbers of people.

Stand up and let it be known that this kind of miscarriage of justice is unacceptable.

You pay their salaries.

Posted: Jun 29 2008, 3:50 AM

86167 If this story were true it's utterly ludicrous.

But given the source I woulddn't believe a word of it.

The only things you will find in the daily mail that aren't utter fabrications of right wing nutjobs are the price and the date on the front page.

Posted: Jun 30 2008, 8:31 PM

6817 With all of the camera watching every citizen's every move, can't he use video to prove his innocence?
James Smith

Posted: Nov 20 2013, 3:03 PM

179186 The UK and the USA are no longer free countries. They are police states where the rules of decent behavior and responsible actions are no longer applied to the police.

My advice to anyone from either of this countries is to move to a more civilized place. Almost any emerging country will be better. I particularly recommend Denmark, The Netherlands, Sweden, or Norway. If you prefer warmer climates, There is the rapidly-emerging Brazil where I am.
Steve Rush

Posted: Oct 14 2014, 4:20 AM

9942 I wonder if that "community support officer" carries an apple core, to assist in meeting his ticket quota.
Comments 1 - 9 of 9 Page 1 of 1

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