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Council claims Tattershall boy's pirate flag in garden breaches advertising rules

By Louth Target  |  Posted: February 29, 2012

  • Sara Steele, Anthony, 7, and Ronnie Ford-Kennedy with the pirate flag in their garden.

  • The skull and crossbones flag and pole in Ronnie Ford-Kennedy and Sara Steele's garden in Tattershall. East Lindsey District Council said the flag needs advertising consent.

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FLYING a skull and crossbones flag as part of their child's pirate play has landed a Lincolnshire family in hot water with the district council.

The Tattershall couple have been instructed to take down the pirate flag from their garden because, the council says, it breaches advertising regulations.

Ronnie Ford-Kennedy and his partner Sara Steele were amazed to receive a letter on Friday from East Lindsey District Council's planning enforcement department advising them that they need advertisement consent to display the skull and crossbones flag.

The flag is in their Browning Court garden erected on a fishing pole, not a proper flagpole.

The letter states the pole should not exceed two metres in height and requests Mr Ford-Kennedy and Miss Steele to remove the flag and pole within 28 days.

The letter states it is an offence, prosecutable in the magistrate's court, to display an advert without consent from the council.

Mr Ford-Kennedy said the flag has been put up for Miss Steele's seven-year-old son, Anthony, who has Asperger's Syndrome.

He said: "Anthony likes playing pirates and when I have my daughters here, they all play pirates together. The flag has been up for three months. I found the letter shocking to say the least.

"Anthony has to be told things prior to what is happening because of his syndrome. We've told him we've got to take the flag down, but he doesn't really understand and neither do we.

"If it just affected me I would not be bothered but this is going to affect a little boy."

Miss Steele said: "This is a child's toy. It's sad that someone has reported a child's toy to the council. We don't understand why it constitutes as advertising when it is just a standard pirate's flag in our garden."

When they contacted the council, they were told they can fly any nationality flag but not the skull and crossbones.

Before putting up the skull and crossbones, Mr Ford-Kennedy flew an England flag without complaint for three years.

He is a member of the English Democrats and stood in the East Lindsey District Council elections last year.

The couple said they will take the flag down within the 28 days, reduce the height of the pole, and fly a new England flag instead.

A spokesman from East Lindsey District Council said: "The flag flown has been brought to our attention as it is a breach of advertising regulations.

"As such, and in line with planning law, the district council has written to the family concerned asking that it is taken down. Rules around what flags are acceptable are contained within planning legislation and we'd be happy to provide advice and guidance on what is acceptable."

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  • LincolnFran  |  March 07 2012, 7:13AM

    The BBC announces that the council have relented and sent a letter of apology. They should never have sent the first letter anyway.

  • saddletramp2  |  March 02 2012, 6:44PM

    Done be too troubled with those little Arrows http://tinyurl.com/ldd8um

    |   -3
  • Godbur  |  March 02 2012, 5:11PM

    I'll be well and truly "down arrowed" for this, but I find it hard to believe how gullible the people on here are to believe that this story is anything to do with the young lad and "his" flag.

    |   7
  • vpire  |  March 02 2012, 12:29PM

    It's been announced today, that the council have "Backed down" blaming planning permission rules for their original lunacy. http://tinyurl.com/8xoyojm

  • Sir_Chasm  |  March 01 2012, 12:43PM

    Puts me in mind of this: http://tinyurl.com/33y38a7

  • HotShot24  |  March 01 2012, 12:09PM

    Regardless of the fact the Jolly Roger has been Mr Ford-Kennedys "trademark" for many years, its been pointed out that the issue was with the height of the pole. He could've hung his underpants on a pole to the same effect, no-one wants to look out their window and see what could be deemed as offensive material! Pole shortened, flag changed problem over....which begs the question WHY is it in our newspapers!!

    |   -18
  • Stauffenberg  |  March 01 2012, 11:40AM

    it seems to be going global now here is a good link http://tinyurl.com/76ca25o I like the opening line it sums all this up very well "Here is more idiocy coming from the UK where common-sense seems to have flown the coop a long time ago".

    |   9
  • RefilPad  |  March 01 2012, 11:39AM

    This story is starting to drag, it has obviously had the desired effect even if it is a distorted view. Nice to see Ronnie got into the spirit of things and put his best pirates outfit on for the photos.

    |   -7
  • eatmygoal  |  March 01 2012, 9:47AM

    Might have been removed because it makes little sense, even by the usual standards on here.

  • SaraandRonnie  |  March 01 2012, 9:43AM

    Beefybaby. A comment was removed as it was too personal and unrelated to the story.Referring to a car that was sold over a year ago? Typical that there is always someone who will always try to twist anything. As said we will comply with the rules and lower the pole and change the flag. The flag was changed purely for the purpose of childs play. ColCol13. Thank you for coming forward and commenting again. The flag is back at it's original height and it was made clear this morning that it was reduced in height for the purpose of pictures. I'm sorry you didn't feel you could simply ask us about this especially when it was only the height of the flag that was the issue.

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