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Life in Gordon Browns Soviet Britain: Football needs a permit.

Arrested and held in cells for playing football without council permission.
A father was arrested and held in a cell for five hours for playing football with his children in a park without permission from the council.

Darren Chapman, 42, was taken into custody after the family game, which was in defiance of town hall orders.

Council rules state that players must undergo a criminal records check, pay for insurance and apply for formal permission for the game.

Mr Chapman, who was eventually released without charge, said today: 'All we want to do is have a kickabout with the lads twice a week so they can keep sharp for when their league's training starts again, and we can't.'

Problems began after Mr Chapman began staging regular games for his children and their seven-year-old friends at Woodmansterne Recreation Grounds in Banstead, Surrey.

He was approached by Reigate and Banstead Council in February and asked to stop the activity immediately.

The council also sent him a letter asking for proof of a Criminal Records Bureau check, insurance and a formal request to use the park area for organised training activities.

Mr Chapman continued the games regardless, and was shocked when police stormed the recreation ground to arrest him on July 1.

He said: 'We play here twice a week, we kick a ball and practice, but they are trying to make us stop.'

He told how officers were called in after he tried to organise a protest picnic with other parents to challenge the council's decision.

'The police said I was threatening to cause criminal damage,' he said.

Another father added: 'It's totally out of order. Darren's only trying to give the kids something to do and he's being treated like a criminal.'

A council spokeswoman said: 'Unfortunately, although Mr Chapman has been advised on how he can work with the council to obtain the authorised use of the designated areas, to date he has failed to comply with the council's usual procedure.'

A Surrey Police spokesman said their 'actions were proportionate throughout the arrest procedure' and subsequent enquiry.

The councils get their money through council tax and government grants and then use that money for things like recreational areas, so that land actually belongs to the local taxpayers, who should be able to use it when they want.

Although councils now see themselves as our masters.


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