Conviction on the menu

The case of a hotel sandwich board which upset planners in Bideford, North Devon, is to return to the local magistrates' court. But when it returns, the magistrates have been given no choice but to convict hotelier Alan Jarad for breach of the Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) Regulations 1992 by putting the board on the pavement outside his hotel. Originally, the magistrates acquitted Jarad after he argued that the board had been sited outside the hotel for 10 years without complaint and so was exempt from the laws being levelled against him. But after an appeal to the High Court by Torridge District Council, the case has been sent back to the magistrates' court, which has been told that it was wrong and directed to convict.