HC Deb 21 March 1960 vol 620 cc24-5
37. Mr. Gordon Walker

asked the Minister of Aviation by what authority the Civil Aviation Constabulary confiscated a pack of cards and about two shillings in threepenny bits from four members of the Scottish Boxing Association at London Airport on 9th March; and whether he will cause this property to be returned to its owners.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Aviation (Mr. Geoffrey Rippon)

The Constabulary took possession of the cards and the money amounting to 5s. 0½d., for possible production as evidence, under ordinary police powers. It has been decided not to prosecute, and the property has been returned.

Mr. Gordon Walker

Whilst hearing with pleasure that the property is being returned, may I ask whether this was not an example of great stupidity to invoke the full majesty of the law against four people who were whiling away a few hours at London Airport by playing cards for halfpenny stakes? Is this not the sort of silliness that really ruins good relations between any police force and the public?

Mr. Rippon

It was not a very serious offence, and it has been thought sufficient to deal with the matter by way of a warning letter. But these gentlemen were playing cards in a very public place and attracted a small crowd, causing a measure of obstruction. I do not think it was unreasonable to ask them to desist and for the police sergeant to take some action.

Mr. Gordon Walker

Will the Parliamentary Secretary send a warning letter to the policemen concerned, asking them not to behave in this sort of way in future?

Mr. Emrys Hughes

Is the Minister aware that these Scottish boxers were only playing for threepenny bits and that they are prepared to send a representative to argue it out with the constable who arrested them?