[Newspaper Column] Fine Time

Each week the Romford Recorder has the Steve Allen column. And now you can find it in the Ilford Recorder too. If you're around East London and West Essex you can buy the newspaper every Thursday/Friday, or follow @mrstevenallen to see the columns on Twitter. You can also read the archive of past ones, which can be found here.

You can click the image to zoom in on the paper, or read the column below.

My show is no stranger to controversy. Last week I was held up in traffic on the way into the radio station and took to the airwaves to rant about the inconsiderate BMW driver blocking the road just off the A127. It turned out the driver, Danielle, was listening. That show was tense.

I often call out bad drivers on the show, which means I have upset some white van drivers in the past but this week saw a news story make me jump to one van driver's defence.

A man was given a £200 fine for not having a "no smoking" sign in his work van even though he doesn't smoke. This is health and safety gone mad.

I'm a non-smoker and as a comedian I performed in clubs before the smoking ban came in. I remember how the smell would linger on your outfit after each show, so I was glad to see it banned, but as a non-smoker I don't want to be surrounded by no smoking signs.

I know it's against the law to smoke in a vehicle if it is used for work but it's also illegal to rob people or evade tax but we don't have to put signs up for that.

The irony is, if the driver, a Mr Trevor Emery, was caught smoking in the van he would have received a £50 fine, but the fine for not having the sign reminding him not to do the thing he doesn't do anyway, was four times that.

So now he has to find the money to pay the bigger fine, and it's not like he can get the extra cash by cutting back on things like smoking, because he's a non-smoker!

It must be stressful for him. It's enough to drive you to cigarettes.



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