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Squatters face trial for allegedly taking waste food from dustbins behind Kentish Town Iceland

15:27 29 January 2014

Highbury Corner Magistrates

Highbury Corner Magistrates' Court

Anna Bruce

Three squatters are to appear in court after allegedly taking some tomatoes, mushrooms and cheese from the dustbins behind a branch of Iceland.

Paul May, 35, Jason Chan, 31, and William James, 23, have been charged under the Vagrancy Act 1824 after allegedly climbing over a wall in Holmes Road, Kentish Town, behind Iceland in Kentish Town Road, to take food that had been thrown out by the supermarket.

Three men were arrested on October 25 as they left the area with a holdall and trolley containing the food, the total value of which allegedly amounted to £33. Police returned the items to the store.

The case is expected to highlight the “skipping” or “freegan” movement of retrieving discarded food to save money and reduce waste.

The three men have been charged with being found “in an enclosed area, namely Iceland, for an unlawful purpose, namely stealing food”, under the Vagrancy Act.

Iceland has issued a statement to say it had no knowledge of the prosecution until reports in the media appeared.

It added: “On the issue of food waste more generally, we work very closely with all our suppliers to minimise the amount of waste food Iceland generates. Products are only designated as waste when they have passed their use-by dates and are considered unfit for human consumption.

“We utilise secure storage areas and / or locked waste bins to dispose of such products because allowing them to be consumed by members of the public would constitute a significant health and safety risk.”

May, whose address was given as the Peabody Estate in Dalgarno Gardens, Ladbroke Grove, Chan, of no fixed abode, and James, of Weedon Close, Bristol, will appear at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court on Monday.

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