‘This is a legitimate business which has done no wrong’

29/10/13- The Outdoorsman, Rye.  Harvey Harman
29/10/13- The Outdoorsman, Rye. Harvey Harman

POLICE and Trading Standards officials seized rook scarer bangers in a raid on a new Rye shop.

Susie Morley, owner of the Outdoorsman, in Rope Walk, has criticised the action claiming she has done nothing wrong and complied with all regulations.

She said: “I was told that there had been people letting off bangs in Rye since my shop opened in August.

But there is no evidence at all that what they were using came from my shop.

“Martyn Channon, around the corner from us sells the same items. Who is to say that whoever let off the bangs did not have them at home for the past year or even bought them in Rye?

“I may be in a business they don’t like, but it is still a legitimate business and I have done nothing wrong.

“I feel I am being victimised.”

“The shop opened in Rye in August this year to cater for all outdoor pursuits, such as camping, survival, paint balling, ferreting, archery, fishing and army surplus.

“We are in a predominately agricultural area and there is a demand for this.

“I read all 231 pages of the HSE Regulations 2005 that Trading Standards sent and still do not know why I have had some of my stock confiscated.

“I have not received an inventory or receipt for the goods taken. I was holding less than 30% of the amount I am allowed and I truly believed I had complied with their instructions as the pyrotechnics were being held in their original closed transport packaging, and I had followed the ‘Do’s and Don’ts’.

“I was not here at the time. It would have been better if the officers had closed the shop and waited for me to arrive.

“Apparently, the officers weighed the whole package of explosives and applied the rule for fireworks which is to assume the net mass is one quarter of the gross weight but pyrotechnics are a different category as they are ‘Hazard Type 4’, “with only local effect”.

“Apart from a visit from an official who warned ‘That we did not want to get a bad name’ I had no idea this visit was pending.

“It seems harsh as I even had signs in the shop saying that I would only sell pyrotechnics to anyone over the age of 21, and the law is 18.

“I was able to speak to the officers on the phone while they were there, but they were so agitated and speaking so quickly I could not get a word in or catch everything they were saying. However, I do remember them saying they did not like my staff! Well I did not employ them for their charm or good looks, but that is my affair. The officers confirmed that I was not to be prosecuted because I had not contravened the regulations.

“Everyone should be supporting those who are trying to provide business and employment. I stock bird scarers because a flock of pigeons can devastate newly sown crops. I am dismayed by the abrupt actions of the officials.

“My staff asked if the goods would be returned, but only received a dismissive response. What has been gained? My staff were upset because it is not their responsibility to deal with officialdom.

“When I applied for the licence to sell air rifles, I dealt with Sam Covell who was courteous, well informed and helpful. I thought that all government officials would be supportive of small businesses, as shops are closing all the time.”