Cambridgeshire

Cake maker banned from St Ives market after 'machete joke'

George's Bakery Image copyright George's Bakery
Image caption George's Bakery had not felt welcome at St Ives market for some time

A baker has been banned from a farmer's market after he made a joke about machetes on Facebook.

The council accused him of trying to incite violence.

George Hepher said cakes on his stall in St Ives market in Cambridgeshire had begun to melt after his position was moved into the sunlight.

In a Facebook post encouraging people to protest, he "used the word machetes, as a joke", after which the town council banned his stall.

The council said some may have read it and "not consider it to be a joke".

Mr Hepher, the owner of George's Bakery, said that after asking customers to complain to the council about the stall's move, the authority "still did nothing".

The 23-year-old said that while he also has stalls in Ely and Cambridge, he had not felt welcome at the St Ives market for some time and then turned to social media.

Image copyright George's Bakery

"On a Facebook post, mine are often humorous and quite funny, we made a joke... that we encouraged people to bring placards and banners, and as a joke I used the word machetes, to the market as a form of protest," said Mr Hepher.

He said the council reported the post to the police and they spoke to Mr Hepher, whose business has about 3,000 likes on Facebook and 26,000 Instagram followers.

"They came to talk to me and they found the matter kind of funny. They basically advised me to edit the comment so I just took the word machete off of the post."

A statement from the council said: "The decision to ban George's Bakery was not taken lightly but was proportionate to the comment made.

"Any person or business who appears to be inciting violence publicly against an individual or body is likely to be investigated formally - even if said jokingly.

"In the current climate of knife crime, there is the chance someone may have read the uncensored comment, not consider it to be a joke and act on it."

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