Ban on Cambridge river touts punting for business

Punting on the River Cam
Image caption The new law means touts will be restricted from plying their trade in areas away from the river

New laws making it illegal for Cambridge punt companies to tout for business have been branded "fascist".

City council head Lewis Herbert has introduced a Public Space Protection Order (PSPO) which makes touting illegal in areas of the city away from the River Cam.

Touts face a fine of £75 for flouting the rule, which Mr Herbert said would protect people from being "hassled".

One tout said he would "fight it to the death".

The PSPO follows a public consultation earlier this year and bans touts from tourist hotspots such as King's Parade and some road junctions leading to the central shopping areas.

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Mr Herbert said the council had spent two years talking with punt companies in an effort to curb touting.

The new law, introduced at midnight, will be in place for three years and enforced by council officials and police.

Image copyright Cambridge City Council
Image caption Touts will be banned from a number of areas, including the central tourist and shopping districts

However, some companies have said it could put people out of work.

Janne Jarvis, an independent punt operator said: "It's a throwback to the 1930s, to fascism, unbefitting of a western democracy.

"It cannot be allowed to stand and we'll fight it to the death."

Mr Herbert said up to 50 touts often worked "well away from the river".

He said: "It is not right that people should get hassled.

"If people are saying to me there are 75 punt touts and at some points there have been 50 on the streets at the same time, is that something that is appropriate for a city like ours?"

Instead of touting, operators could sell tickets through shops or work directly with coach companies, he suggested.

Image copyright PA
Image caption People who flout the rules face a fine of £75

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