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Apology demand for arrest of King’s Lynn ferryman

King's Lynn Ferry operator Steve Kingston was arrested and pepper sprayed by police during the floods for refusing to leave his boat.

King's Lynn Ferry operator Steve Kingston was arrested and pepper sprayed by police during the floods for refusing to leave his boat.

Council chiefs have been urged to apologise to Lynn’s pedestrian ferry operator for his arrest on the night of December’s tidal surge.

The case of Steve Kingston, which is set to return to court next month, was highlighted during a meeting of the full West Norfolk Council held at the Lynn Town Hall on Thursday night.

But the authority’s leader, Nick Daubney, dismissed the demand, accusing opponents of trying to score political points out of the emergency response to the crisis, in which the area was battered by waves thought to be even bigger than those which caused the 1953 flood disaster.

As previously reported, Mr Kingston is accused of obstructing or resisting police on the night of the surge, December 5 last year. He denies the charge.

During his initial court appearance on December 30, magistrates were told that borough council officers had told him to leave his boat during the surge for safety reasons and that police were called in when he refused to get off the vessel.

But, during questions to the leader at Thursday’s meeting, independent councillor Paul Foster asked whether Mr Daubney accepted that the safest place for Mr Kingston to be during the surge was on his boat.

Mr Foster, who represents the West Winch ward, went on to ask: “Would he like to take this opportunity to apologise to the ferry operator?”

But Mr Daubney rejected the suggestion that the council had had the ferry operator detained.

He told members: “This council had nobody arrested on the night of the surge.

“I happen to get on extremely well with the ferry operator and this council has been of great assistance to the whole ferry operation.

He went on: “We, like all other powers on the night of the surge, abided by a carefully worked out plan.

“That worked and that kept people safe and I’m quite sad that political capital is being made out of that.”

Mr Kingston’s case is due to be reviewed in a hearing at Lynn magistrates court on March 5, which will determine whether he should stand trial or not.

 

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