Shropshire Star

'He was afforded every opportunity': Council defends prosecuting busker landed with £11k court bill

A council has defended taking legal action against a busker in Shrewsbury, saying he had been "afforded every opportunity" to comply with its rules.

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Jason Allan has been left with an £11k court bill after being prosecuted by Shropshire Council over selling a ticket to a show and handing out leaflets without a permit while busking in Shrewsbury last year.

Following a hearing at Telford Magistrates Court, which the singer did not attend, magistrates fined him £3,500 and ordered him to pay £6,286.30 in prosecution costs plus a £1,400 victim surcharge – meaning he has a total of £11,186.30 to pay.

After the conclusion of the case Frances Darling, Shropshire Council’s head of business and consumer protection, said that the council had tried to discuss the situation with the popular singer but had pursued legal action after he had "failed to change his behaviour".

She said: "Jason Allan has been afforded every opportunity to comply with the council’s Street Trading Policy and local environmental rules about the distribution of leaflets, but ultimately he failed to do so.

"The council had no option other than to resort to prosecution as Jason Allan simply refused to accept that his music and actions had a negative impact on the wider community, and failed to change his behaviour."

Jason Allan was hit with a court bill of more than £11,000

Ms Darling said the council does welcome street performers – but added that the would "not hesitate" to take action against those not following the rules.

She said: "We welcome street entertainers and buskers as we recognise the important part they play in creating a welcoming and vibrant town centre.

"We do, however, need to ensure we protect residents, businesses and the town’s historic environment and for this reason we ask that street entertainers perform in a way that benefits all residents, businesses and visitors to the town.

"The ‘Shrewsbury Street Entertainers Guidance’ provides clear advice, which if followed, will ensure legal requirements are satisfied.

“We encourage all street entertainers to read the guidance and if they are unsure about their responsibilities to seek further advice; officers will be more than happy to help.

"Whilst we are sure that most street entertainers will do their best to comply, if anyone is found to be irresponsibly flouting the laws, we will not hesitate to take enforcement action where necessary.”