Man who sold memorabilia to fund retirement to appeal conviction after landmark case

SHUT: The closed West Moors Army Surplus shop at Penn Court in West Moors

SHUT: The closed West Moors Army Surplus shop at Penn Court in West Moors

First published in News by

A BUSINESSMAN who sells police memorabilia to fund his retirement will appeal his conviction and sentence after a landmark trial at Bournemouth Magistrates’ Court.

On Thursday, magistrates ruled 67-year-old Ronald Cooke, of Liphook Road, Bordon, Hampshire, had broken the law for possessing hundreds of items of police uniform and equipment he intended to sell.

The case, believed to be the first of its kind in the UK, could “open the floodgates” for future prosecutions against sellers and collectors of police memorabilia, the court was told.

Alison Saunders, prosecuting, said Cooke sold the items online and from his shop Dorset Militaria in Penn Court, West Moors, which has recently closed down. She said Cooke was first arrested on suspicion of handling stolen goods after a warrant was executed at the shop and his home in September last year.

Police found a haul of items including 236 police helmets, 56 police baseball caps and 92 helmet badges. Officers also seized 40 envelopes containing a “large quantity” of police badges which Cooke used to make the replica items, the magistrates were told.

Ms Saunders said when interviewed by police, Cooke was asked whether he vetted the people he sold the items to and if he had considered whether they could be used by terrorists or someone attempting to impersonate a police officer.

Cooke told officers it had “crossed his mind but people get tied up with terrorism” and only “decent people” buy from him, the magistrates heard. Harvey Withecombe, defending, said Cooke, who also sold the items on the websites dorsetmilitaria.com and britishbobby.com, had been financially “crippled” by the case.

Cooke, who opted not to give evidence, lost £800 a week in income since police seized his stock last year, the court was told.

Mr Withecombe said: “There is no evidence he has sold any of these items to a person who used them for an unlawful purpose.”

Mr Withecombe accused the Crown Prosecution Service of “making up the law” and claimed if Cooke was found guilty, anyone who collects, sells or handles police equipment could face prosecution.

Cooke was found guilty of eight counts of possessing police uniform on Thursday, August 21. He was fined £250, ordered to pay costs of £300 and a £25 victim surcharge.

Speaking after the trial, he said: “There’s a huge market for this kind of memorabilia, and I can’t understand it. I will be appealing the decision.”

Comments (13)

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2:16pm Tue 26 Aug 14

Alantrom says...

To enlighten us peasants out here, could we possibly be told under what section of what act he was charged and also how did he come to be in possession of these items?
If police uniforms are restricted items, how do film and TV companies get around this law?
To enlighten us peasants out here, could we possibly be told under what section of what act he was charged and also how did he come to be in possession of these items? If police uniforms are restricted items, how do film and TV companies get around this law? Alantrom
  • Score: 7

2:33pm Tue 26 Aug 14

saynomore says...

Because film companies and stage companies are registered unlike the weirdos who would buy this stuff for personal use.
Because film companies and stage companies are registered unlike the weirdos who would buy this stuff for personal use. saynomore
  • Score: 2

2:42pm Tue 26 Aug 14

speedy231278 says...

As long as he is not selling replicas of current police regalia and hasn't stolen the items for sale which aren't replicas, I fail to see what he is doing wrong.
As long as he is not selling replicas of current police regalia and hasn't stolen the items for sale which aren't replicas, I fail to see what he is doing wrong. speedy231278
  • Score: 6

4:02pm Tue 26 Aug 14

twynhamob says...

CPS just have to mention "terrorism" and everyone gets scared. No law was broken as far as I can see, except the one of commonsense, why would anyone want to collect his type of thing.
CPS just have to mention "terrorism" and everyone gets scared. No law was broken as far as I can see, except the one of commonsense, why would anyone want to collect his type of thing. twynhamob
  • Score: 3

6:02pm Tue 26 Aug 14

Terry Collmann says...

I doubt very much he said he was "appealing the decision". I'm sure he said he was "appealing AGAINST the decision".
I doubt very much he said he was "appealing the decision". I'm sure he said he was "appealing AGAINST the decision". Terry Collmann
  • Score: 1

7:22pm Tue 26 Aug 14

X Old Bill says...

Alantrom wrote:
To enlighten us peasants out here, could we possibly be told under what section of what act he was charged and also how did he come to be in possession of these items?
If police uniforms are restricted items, how do film and TV companies get around this law?
I would guess that the charge was under the Police Act 1996, Section 90, which deals with impersonating a police officer.
Parts 1 and 2 require an intent to deceive.
Part 3 wording is:
Any person who, not being a member of a police force or special constable, has in his possession any article of police uniform shall, unless he proves that he obtained possession of that article lawfully and has possession of it for a lawful purpose, be guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 1 on the standard scale.

From the report it does not appear that the case was sufficiently proven, maybe the Echo left something out.
[quote][p][bold]Alantrom[/bold] wrote: To enlighten us peasants out here, could we possibly be told under what section of what act he was charged and also how did he come to be in possession of these items? If police uniforms are restricted items, how do film and TV companies get around this law?[/p][/quote]I would guess that the charge was under the Police Act 1996, Section 90, which deals with impersonating a police officer. Parts 1 and 2 require an intent to deceive. Part 3 wording is: Any person who, not being a member of a police force or special constable, has in his possession any article of police uniform shall, unless he proves that he obtained possession of that article lawfully and has possession of it for a lawful purpose, be guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 1 on the standard scale. From the report it does not appear that the case was sufficiently proven, maybe the Echo left something out. X Old Bill
  • Score: 7

9:23pm Tue 26 Aug 14

Alantrom says...

X Old Bill wrote:
Alantrom wrote:
To enlighten us peasants out here, could we possibly be told under what section of what act he was charged and also how did he come to be in possession of these items?
If police uniforms are restricted items, how do film and TV companies get around this law?
I would guess that the charge was under the Police Act 1996, Section 90, which deals with impersonating a police officer.
Parts 1 and 2 require an intent to deceive.
Part 3 wording is:
Any person who, not being a member of a police force or special constable, has in his possession any article of police uniform shall, unless he proves that he obtained possession of that article lawfully and has possession of it for a lawful purpose, be guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 1 on the standard scale.

From the report it does not appear that the case was sufficiently proven, maybe the Echo left something out.
Ta X Old Bill
Obvious grounds for an appeal but as you suggest, I expect it is more likely that we do not have a full report of the evidence that was presented to the bench
[quote][p][bold]X Old Bill[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Alantrom[/bold] wrote: To enlighten us peasants out here, could we possibly be told under what section of what act he was charged and also how did he come to be in possession of these items? If police uniforms are restricted items, how do film and TV companies get around this law?[/p][/quote]I would guess that the charge was under the Police Act 1996, Section 90, which deals with impersonating a police officer. Parts 1 and 2 require an intent to deceive. Part 3 wording is: Any person who, not being a member of a police force or special constable, has in his possession any article of police uniform shall, unless he proves that he obtained possession of that article lawfully and has possession of it for a lawful purpose, be guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 1 on the standard scale. From the report it does not appear that the case was sufficiently proven, maybe the Echo left something out.[/p][/quote]Ta X Old Bill Obvious grounds for an appeal but as you suggest, I expect it is more likely that we do not have a full report of the evidence that was presented to the bench Alantrom
  • Score: 4

11:46pm Tue 26 Aug 14

shifty035 says...

X Old Bill wrote:
Alantrom wrote:
To enlighten us peasants out here, could we possibly be told under what section of what act he was charged and also how did he come to be in possession of these items?
If police uniforms are restricted items, how do film and TV companies get around this law?
I would guess that the charge was under the Police Act 1996, Section 90, which deals with impersonating a police officer.
Parts 1 and 2 require an intent to deceive.
Part 3 wording is:
Any person who, not being a member of a police force or special constable, has in his possession any article of police uniform shall, unless he proves that he obtained possession of that article lawfully and has possession of it for a lawful purpose, be guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 1 on the standard scale.

From the report it does not appear that the case was sufficiently proven, maybe the Echo left something out.
so selling it means he was going to use it... mmmm that makes me think if i hired a costume from a fancy dress shop for a party does that make me guilty i dressed up in it so i must be so thats me for a day in court
[quote][p][bold]X Old Bill[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Alantrom[/bold] wrote: To enlighten us peasants out here, could we possibly be told under what section of what act he was charged and also how did he come to be in possession of these items? If police uniforms are restricted items, how do film and TV companies get around this law?[/p][/quote]I would guess that the charge was under the Police Act 1996, Section 90, which deals with impersonating a police officer. Parts 1 and 2 require an intent to deceive. Part 3 wording is: Any person who, not being a member of a police force or special constable, has in his possession any article of police uniform shall, unless he proves that he obtained possession of that article lawfully and has possession of it for a lawful purpose, be guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 1 on the standard scale. From the report it does not appear that the case was sufficiently proven, maybe the Echo left something out.[/p][/quote]so selling it means he was going to use it... mmmm that makes me think if i hired a costume from a fancy dress shop for a party does that make me guilty i dressed up in it so i must be so thats me for a day in court shifty035
  • Score: 1

2:17am Wed 27 Aug 14

billd766 says...

Yet the UK government sells surplus equipment quite happily to anyone with the money.

http://www.ex-mod.co
m/
Yet the UK government sells surplus equipment quite happily to anyone with the money. http://www.ex-mod.co m/ billd766
  • Score: 1

6:50am Wed 27 Aug 14

ashleycross says...

shifty035 wrote:
X Old Bill wrote:
Alantrom wrote:
To enlighten us peasants out here, could we possibly be told under what section of what act he was charged and also how did he come to be in possession of these items?
If police uniforms are restricted items, how do film and TV companies get around this law?
I would guess that the charge was under the Police Act 1996, Section 90, which deals with impersonating a police officer.
Parts 1 and 2 require an intent to deceive.
Part 3 wording is:
Any person who, not being a member of a police force or special constable, has in his possession any article of police uniform shall, unless he proves that he obtained possession of that article lawfully and has possession of it for a lawful purpose, be guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 1 on the standard scale.

From the report it does not appear that the case was sufficiently proven, maybe the Echo left something out.
so selling it means he was going to use it... mmmm that makes me think if i hired a costume from a fancy dress shop for a party does that make me guilty i dressed up in it so i must be so thats me for a day in court
If you hire a police uniform for a party you have to prove that you were going to a party, if you buy a uniform you have to prove you got it legally (ie it wasn't stolen) and you weren't going to use it to impersonate a police officer. If you sell this stuff you have to prove it wasn't stolen. Usually they have to prove you did steal something but for police uniforms the person who has them has to show they weren't stolen .
There is quite enough crime without making it even easier to impersonate a police officer and it shouldn't be possible to make a living selling anything stolen, let alone police equipment.
I'm very pleased to see that this case has been brought and hope that the appeal doesn't work. The police have been turning a blind eye to it for far too long for fear of having to investigate who might be supplying such equipment from within the police.
[quote][p][bold]shifty035[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]X Old Bill[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Alantrom[/bold] wrote: To enlighten us peasants out here, could we possibly be told under what section of what act he was charged and also how did he come to be in possession of these items? If police uniforms are restricted items, how do film and TV companies get around this law?[/p][/quote]I would guess that the charge was under the Police Act 1996, Section 90, which deals with impersonating a police officer. Parts 1 and 2 require an intent to deceive. Part 3 wording is: Any person who, not being a member of a police force or special constable, has in his possession any article of police uniform shall, unless he proves that he obtained possession of that article lawfully and has possession of it for a lawful purpose, be guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 1 on the standard scale. From the report it does not appear that the case was sufficiently proven, maybe the Echo left something out.[/p][/quote]so selling it means he was going to use it... mmmm that makes me think if i hired a costume from a fancy dress shop for a party does that make me guilty i dressed up in it so i must be so thats me for a day in court[/p][/quote]If you hire a police uniform for a party you have to prove that you were going to a party, if you buy a uniform you have to prove you got it legally (ie it wasn't stolen) and you weren't going to use it to impersonate a police officer. If you sell this stuff you have to prove it wasn't stolen. Usually they have to prove you did steal something but for police uniforms the person who has them has to show they weren't stolen . There is quite enough crime without making it even easier to impersonate a police officer and it shouldn't be possible to make a living selling anything stolen, let alone police equipment. I'm very pleased to see that this case has been brought and hope that the appeal doesn't work. The police have been turning a blind eye to it for far too long for fear of having to investigate who might be supplying such equipment from within the police. ashleycross
  • Score: 1

6:53am Wed 27 Aug 14

ashleycross says...

The cps haven't made this law up and yes anyone who possesses and or handles police equipment had better start coming up with a good excuse for why they got it and where they got it from that they can prove.
The cps haven't made this law up and yes anyone who possesses and or handles police equipment had better start coming up with a good excuse for why they got it and where they got it from that they can prove. ashleycross
  • Score: -1

10:27am Wed 27 Aug 14

billd766 says...

How strange. Somewhere years ago I vaguely remember Princess Diana and Sarah Fergussin dressed as policewomen and going to a party.
How strange. Somewhere years ago I vaguely remember Princess Diana and Sarah Fergussin dressed as policewomen and going to a party. billd766
  • Score: 2

10:30am Wed 27 Aug 14

billd766 says...

July 18th 1986 was the time.

http://www.apnewsarc
hive.com/1986/Prince
ss-Sarah-Ferguson-Dr
ess-Up-For-Bachelor-
Party-Prank/id-129d8
3de560c4cf088b671285
3c057b0
July 18th 1986 was the time. http://www.apnewsarc hive.com/1986/Prince ss-Sarah-Ferguson-Dr ess-Up-For-Bachelor- Party-Prank/id-129d8 3de560c4cf088b671285 3c057b0 billd766
  • Score: 1
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