Liam Creedon, PA (UK), Mar. 24
A man who was made subject to an Anti-Social Behaviour Order for putting up a sign saying “porking yard” in his pub car park, because it was offensive to Muslims, today described the court action as “a joke”.
Leroy Trought, 42, was given a two-year Asbo at a hearing at Bristol Magistrates’ Court on Monday.
Magistrates ordered him to change the wording of the “porking yard” sign at The Swan With Two Necks in St Judes, Bristol, to “parking yard”.
He was ordered not to display any signs that may be threatening, abusive or insulting at the pub, which is next to a Somali mosque.
The order was sought by Avon and Somerset Police and Bristol City Council after a series of complaints from residents in the St Judes area.
A spokeswoman for Bristol City Council said: “The Asbo was sought after we received a number of complaints from the wider community who found the sign to be racially and sexually offensive.”
But Mr Trought today said that imposing the Asbo was a joke.
He said the sign was intended to commemorate the large number of butchers’ shops that used to be located in the area and he had never intended to cause any offence.
He said: “We ran a competition in the pub to think of a funny name for the car park and one of the customers came up with the name ‘the porking yard’.
“I grew up in Bristol so I know that this area has traditionally had a lot of butchers. It was always known as ‘pork alley’ so ‘the porking yard’ just seemed to fit.
“There’s a butcher across the street that has been here for more than 100 years. It’s political correctness gone mad.
“At the end of the day to receive an Asbo for this is a joke. We had no intention to cause any offence whatsoever.
“What really annoys me is the complaints that the sign is sexually offensive. Well, I can’t see anything sexual about it. The people who thought that must have dirty minds.”
Somali-born Khalil Abdi, who is street warden in the area, said the sign was deliberately provoking the Muslim community.
Speaking to the Bristol Evening Post, he said: “Because of my faith I am required to attend the mosque in the education centre to pray.
“I regularly use the learning centre in Wade Street, which is near to the pub, with my fellow Somali friends.
“Muslims do not eat pork but the sign has a picture of a pig and the words ‘porking yard’.
“My friends and I were angered and upset by the sign and we have welcomed the court ruling ordering the sign to be changed. I definitely think it is provocative and insulting to Muslims.”
Beat manager Adrian Williams, of Avon and Somerset Police, welcomed the Asbo.
He said he had received complaints about the sign from school teachers, community leaders and members of the Somali community.
He said: “We are very pleased that the order has been made following complaints from the community.
“It shows that this kind of behaviour, which is provocative, will not be tolerated.”
(Posted on March 24, 2005)