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Wednesday, 22 May, 2002, 11:56 GMT 12:56 UK
'Imperial vigilante' guilty of theft
Tony Bennett
Tony Bennett believed the signs were illegal
A solicitor who stole and defaced road signs because they were in metric has been found guilty of theft and criminal damage.

Tony Bennett, 54, had denied the charges as he said the signs were "illegal" and that he was preventing the law from being broken.

However the sentencing judge at Maidstone Magistrates Court said: "He had no right or authority to take the law into his own hands and become an `imperial vigilante'."

The father-of-three from Harlow in Essex who is a UK Independence Party member will be sentenced later on Wednesday.

'Metric menace'

District Judge Michael Kelly said it was "patently absurd" that Bennett had the right to take the signs down and daub others with black paint near Tenterden, Kent, last year.

"Mr Bennett asserts that he has a legal right and responsibility to defend the rest of us from the `metric menace'," the judge said.

"His contention that he has a right to steal and damage property to prevent the display of metric road signs is patently absurd."

Bennett, manager of the UKIP's Guard the Yard Campaign and a non practising solicitor, had driven down to Tenterden after a tip-off about "illegal" road signs being used.

He buried the 29 signs in four locations underneath bushes.


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01 May 02 | England
04 Apr 02 | England
01 Mar 02 | England
18 Feb 02 | England
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