None of the fun of the fair for evicted Hunstanton ride operator

Dismantaling of Fairground rides at Huntstanton. ANL-160126-170759009
Dismantaling of Fairground rides at Huntstanton. ANL-160126-170759009
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A fairground ride operator is facing the loss of his livelihood and home after more than 40 years at a Hunstanton amusement park.

John Cook and his wife Deborah watched in horror as their rides at Rainbow Park were dismantled on Tuesday under the instruction of landlord William Roper.

Debbie and John Cook

Debbie and John Cook

Mr Roper took control of the Seagate Road amusement park last March, and ordered the couple to quit the site just six months later.

Mr and Mrs Cook were given until November to move off the park, but they asked for more time to get their finances together and because Mr Cook was still recovering from a hip replacement operation in July.

As a gesture of goodwill, they sold their Twister ride, leaving them with just two, a Waltzer and a children’s ride.

“We asked if we could continue trading until this summer to give us time to save for the mortgage and save our home, or at least put it on the market,” said Mrs Cook.

In the meantime, the couple sought legal advice. They were advised that as they had been paying rent for several years, they were classed as tenants by law, and as such, had to be given a minimum of six months notice to quit.

But last week, they received a letter ordering them to move off within seven days.

And then, without warning on Tuesday, workmen arrived with trucks to start taking their rides apart.

“They just starting dismantling the rides without our consent,” said Mrs Cook.

“Despite all the legal advice, Mr Roper decided to take matters into his own hands.

“It’s bad enough thinking we’ve lost our business, but we can’t pay our mortgage so we could lose our home as well.”

She added: “It’s a sad, sad state of affairs, John has lived in Hunstanton for 50 years and had fairground rides for more than 40. We’re born and bred fairground people, we don’t know anything else.”

Mrs Cook said when the workers moved on site to start removing the rides, she reported the matter to police.

But although officers were attended to keep the peace, they said as a civil matter there was nothing they could do.

The Lynn News contacted Mr Roper but he declined to comment.