Leeds nostalgisa: September 1983: Beeston shopkeepers fined for Sunday opening

A Generic Photo of a tennis ball. See PA Feature WELLBEING Tennis. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/thinkstockphotos. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature WELLBEING Tennis.
A Generic Photo of a tennis ball. See PA Feature WELLBEING Tennis. Picture credit should read: PA Photo/thinkstockphotos. WARNING: This picture must only be used to accompany PA Feature WELLBEING Tennis.
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A Beeston shop owner was prosecuted for selling a tin of garden peas on a Sunday.

Other shops received summons for selling beans and a tennis ball. The case was part of a crackdown by council enforcement officers, who were applying the extant Sunday trading laws. They visited shops in Belle Isle and Middleton as well.

M Saspal, who according to the 1983 YEP article ran a shop in Lodge Lane, Beeston, admitting selling garden peas.

Another trader was forced to explain selling a birthday card on a Sunday, while yet another was convicted of selling a tennis ball.

All defendants were fined £10, with costs of £30. But in an editorial accompanying the September 1 article, the YEP branded the council’s actions “folly” and asked when it was going to desist in “parading small shopkeepers before magistrates”.

The convictions were controversial because while small shopkeepers were feeling the blunt end of the law, large retail stores and garden centres seemed largely unaffected.

The editorial added: “What is Leeds City Council trying to prove? Magistrates themselves seem to be in a continual state of confusion. Leeds once prided itself on common sense. The fact is the affair is making Leeds look daft.”

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