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Payment in loo: Toilet paper cheque lands man in court

Posted on 1:18 PM by Sameer Shah

It was a very British protest - cocking a snook at overbearing authorities while staying within the law.

But Dick Roper's glow of pleasure at using two sheets of toilet paper to write a cheque for a parking ticket was short lived.

Although Her Majesty's Court Service said they would accept the £30 cheque, they demanded an extra £15 to cover the fee for cashing it.

When the 63-year-old grandfather refused, he was dragged to court for non-payment of a fine.



He took advantage of his day in court by reading out a letter he sent to the Court Service in which he described the police community support officer who slapped a ticket on his car as a 'snake'.

Everyone, including the judge, was laughing as he described the man 'slithering' home at the end of the day 'to digest the evil he had done'.

In the end, Mr Roper scored a victory for common sense when District Judge David Cooper asked him if he would mind sitting at the back of Sudbury Magistrates Court for the day as 'punishment'.

The retired businessman agreed, after Mr Cooper assured him it would not mean a criminal record, adding: 'I can't say it will be particularly enlightening for you but it will discharge your debt to society.'

The father-of-two's battle against bureaucracy began on September 30 when he parked near his home in Long Melford, near Sudbury in Suffolk.

The front of his car was in a bay but the rear end was outside.

At 9pm, PCSO John Woodgate - nicknamed 'the Terminator' by locals - gave him a £30 fixed penalty notice.



Mr Roper wrote the unorthodox cheque but in a covering letter said he would pay twice the amount to charity if his ticket was waived - an offer which was refused.

Mr Roper was told not to speak to the press after the sentence as he was 'in custody' but he was released just 70 minutes later.

He said: 'Mr Cooper entered into the spirit of things. I don't consider it a punishment. It's a victory for common sense, really.

'At the end of the day, it wasn't me refusing to pay. It was them refusing to accept it.

'One should be entitled to make a peaceful protest when you think what's happened to you is unjustified.'

Mr Roper, who was not legally represented, told the court he refused to pay the £15 'special presentation' fee for the cheque to be cashed on the grounds that he had always had to swallow the charges imposed when banking and writing cheques on business accounts.

When the district judge asked what he would have done if a customer had paid with a cheque written on toilet paper, he replied: 'I would pay the cheque in and send them a receipt on toilet paper.'

Judge Cooper has a reputation for unusual judgments. In October, he spared a woman from jail after hearing she had bought a box of chocolates for a police officer she had assaulted.

He has also ordered a man who kept pestering women to keep away from a train station and banned a drunken lout from every pub in England and Wales for a year.

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