Man with Air Rifle on Leeds and Liverpool Canal Protects Ships From Somali Pirates.
Above Photo: A far cry from air rifles. Tooled up a on ship off the coast of Somalia.
In an amusing echo of events in my Punk and New Wave Memoir, Bombed Out!, I read of a court case where a Liverpool man, who gave his occupation as “protecting ships from Somali pirates” who was arrested for carrying an air rifle along the tow path of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.
The man, who also lived on Brownmoor Estate, where I lived when I was growing up, pleaded not guilty to possession of the air rifle without lawful authority or reasonable excuse, and was bailed to appear for trial in the local magistrates court.
As mentioned in Bombed Out!, shooting with air rifles along the Leeds and Liverpool canal was one of my pastimes during the period narrated in the book.
Nowadays, the Back Field (AKA the more poshly-renamed “Rimrose Valley Country Park”) and the canal tow path have changed so much from my time. Back then, it was a dangerous council estates’ battleground, whereas it’s now a pleasant recreational area, and I can’t believe anyone would consider carrying an air rifle around in such a public place, although this guy obviously didn’t think the same.
There is further Bombed Out! relevance in this short news report, because my brother and I, along with a friend, were wrongly arrested for carrying air rifles along the same canal in 1983, when the Merseyside police manufactured “evidence” against us and brought it along to court, which really fucked me off, although we had the last laugh when all the charges were dropped.
I have never forgotten the casual way the police had attempted to pervert the course of justice in our pathetically trivial case, and of course this also gets an airing in the book, as it is highly relevant to a few themes running through it.
Still, it’s nice to know if all else fails I could get a job Rambo-ing around the Indian Ocean chasing pirates, with my long and distinguished air rifle apprenticeship along the Leeds and Liverpool canal.
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