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Poll: After case dropped against ‘Iceland Three’, should people be allowed to take food from supermarket bins?

Iceland in Kentish Town. Picture: Google Iceland in Kentish Town. Picture: Google

Wednesday, January 29, 2014
5:55 PM

They are being called the “Iceland Three” by those who have taken up their cause on Twitter.

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Three men who allegedly raided some dustbins behind the supermarket’s Kentish Town branch, in Kentish Town Road, to recover waste food were due to stand trial at Highbury Corner Magistrates’ Court on Monday.

They were charged under the Vagrancy Act 1824 after allegedly climbing over a wall in Holmes Road, behind Iceland, and taking about £33 worth of food on October 25 last year.

Police, who have a station next to the site in Holmes Road, accused Paul May, 35, Jason Chan, 31, and William James, 23, of being found “in an enclosed area, namely Iceland, for an unlawful purpose, namely stealing food”.

But following outcry on Twitter and questions about the public interest value in pursuing a prosecution – with even bosses at Iceland expressing doubts – the Crown Prosecution Service today announced that it was dropping the case.

The episode has highlighted the “skipping” or “freegan” movement of retrieving food discarded by supermarkets and cafes to save money and reduce waste.

So should people be allowed to recover food that has been thrown out by shops?

Or do you think taking edible food from the bins of a supermarket or cafe should not be allowed, even if it is destined for a landfill?

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