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Last Updated: Wednesday, 4 July 2007, 19:52 GMT 20:52 UK
Vicar's unholy smoke stunt fails
The Reverend Anthony Carr
When Mr Carr was told he would not be arrested he replied "what a pity"
A vicar who lit his pipe in a Kent police station as a protest against the smoking ban has failed in his attempt to get himself arrested.

The Reverend Anthony Carr, of East Peckham, walked into the station in Tonbridge, asked to report a crime and then started smoking.

He said he flouted the ban to protest against the erosion of civil liberties.

Kent Police said they did not arrest the Holy Trinity church vicar because it was an environmental health issue.

'What a pity'

Mr Carr said: "I said to the officer 'I want to report a crime' and I took out my pipe and lit it.

"He said 'Will you please put that out as this is a no smoking area' and I said 'I will not'."

Officially, the church doesn't condone breaking the law
Bishop's spokesman

When officers told him he would not be "bundled into" the back of a van he said "what a pity".

He added: "There are many things which are said to affect our health. You can't really regulate the minutiae of people's individual lives like that."

Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council said the law protected public health and they would follow up any reports of the smoking ban being broken.

A spokesman for the Bishop of Rochester said: "We regard this as a personal matter - the church would not wish to comment on the incident.

"Officially, the church doesn't condone breaking the law."

Vicar explains why he lit up in a police station

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