A PROTESTER has been fined after parking outside polling stations on General Election day with a ‘Labour paedo party’ sign on his van.
Police were called to Horwich Library in Jones Street on May 7 after the white van had been spotted there, Bolton Magistrates Court heard.
Officers traced the van to Wayne Riley and found it on the street outside his Singleton Avenue home — still with two signs stuck to the side.
Riley swore and became abusive to officers, who quizzed him about the signs, the other of which read ‘please do not vote Labour’.
He was arrested after police made repeated efforts to reason with him, the court was told.
Riley appeared in court yesterday representing himself, but was removed by security staff at the request of chair of the bench Roz Clarke, after repeatedly shouting down magistrates and court staff.
He left the court building and security staff were instructed not to let him back in. The case was then heard in his absence.
Giving evidence, Sgt Alex Metcalfe said: “I could see straight away that he was angry and belligerent.
“He was swearing and he was aggressive. Children of school age were playing out and they were within hearing distance of what he was saying.
“His behaviour, coupled with the signs he had put on his van, and the fact we had already been called to one incident meant I was alarmed at how he was behaving.
“There were children playing out and mums walking past his can. There was no option but to arrest him.”
PC Alison Casey said in her evidence that Riley eventually turned his abuse to her, saying “the police never do anything about child abuse”.
The court heard she might not have taken any action had Riley calmed down and removed the signs from the van — which was parked on the street in full public view — but he refused to do so.
Riley was found guilty of a public order offence of using threatening or abusive words or behaviour likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress.
He must pay a court bill of £1,255, comprising a £350 fine, £350 in costs, £520 criminal courts charge and a £35 victim surcharge.
On the day of the election, Labour councillor for Horwich Kevin McKeon said: “I feel sorry for a person whose bitterness can compel them to do something like this.
“I don’t think this will have any effect on voters today.
“I am of course disappointed that someone has done this but I am very pleased that the police have taken swift and correct action on the matter.”
Labour MP Julie Hilling went on to lose her Bolton West seat to the Conservatives’ Chris Green by just 801 votes.