Page last updated at 21:24 GMT, Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Skating pensioner fined by court

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CCTV footage of Geoff Dornan rollerblading

A rollerblading Belfast pensioner has been fined 300 after he was filmed skating along a street in England.

Geoff Dornan, 71, now living in Ormskirk, Lancashire, was caught on CCTV skating through Chapel Street in Southport in October 2008.

He said it was to keep fit, but Sefton Council said his rollerblading was a nuisance and a danger to the public.

Mr Dornan was found guilty on two counts of breaching a by-law but has since lodged an appeal.

I think people suspect that I am more dangerous than I am
Geoff Dornan

He was also ordered to pay 1,800 costs, but the fines were suspended after Andrew Scott, defending, said an appeal notice had been handed to the prosecution.

The appeal case will be heard at a crown court at a later date.

In his defence, Mr Dornan, a retired youth worker, told the court he took up rollerblading seven years ago as a way of keeping fit.

He said he enjoyed skating down the town's main street as he enjoyed moving to the music from buskers, but he insisted that he always gave right of way to pedestrians.

He also told the court he tried to give people as much space as possible and used his rollerblades responsibly.

Geoff Dornan: 'I like to go shopping on my skates'

He said: "The reason I do the skating is primarily for my health benefit.

"I think people suspect that I am more dangerous than I am."

But the council said he was contravening a by-law which forbids skating on Chapel Street.

The by-law states that "no person shall skate, slide or ride on rollers, skateboards or other self-propelled vehicles in such a manner as to cause danger or annoyance".

Chairman of the bench, Fraser Wallace, said: "We find the manner of your skating put pedestrians at risk and exposed them to harm."

He said it was clear Chapel Street was not meant to be used as a "skate park" and said Dornan's behaviour "causes a danger" to the public.

You can listen to an interview with Geoff Dornan on Radio Ulster's Good Morning Ulster programme after 0800 GMT on Wednesday.

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