Offensive Brexit Christmas lights land Blackpool man in court

A "bad taste" joke about Brexit - involving Christmas lights, an obscenity and a picture of a man on the toilet - landed a Blackpool man in court.

Tuesday, 15th January 2019, 12:52 pm
Updated Wednesday, 16th January 2019, 7:35 pm
The unusual Christmas lights on Rodwell Walk, in Blackpool, landed the occupant in court

Steven McGawley, pleaded guilty to displaying an abusive sign that was likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress when he appeared at Blackpool Magistrates' Court today.

McGawley - who was also visited by police in 2016 after his Christmas decorations proved controversial - was given a 12-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay £20 victim surcharge.

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The unusual Christmas lights on Rodwell Walk, in Blackpool, landed the occupant in court

Presiding magistrate Jeffrey Warburton told him: "While I think a lot of people are sick to death of Brexit and talk about it, you must accept that some people would find a word like that offensive."

The festive lights were also used to create an image next to the offensive word that prosecutor Pam Smith described as “someone squatting down and doing a poo.”

The court heard the headteacher of nearby Layton Primary School, which has around 600 pupils, said the children could see the sign from the school, which was not acceptable.

Police went to see McGawley as a result of her complaint and he told officers he had put up the signs as a bit of fun.

Hugh Pond, defending, said: "My client got sick and tired of people talking about Brexit and that is why he did it.

“It was joke - perhaps in bad taste - and is sorry if he offended anyone. One would have to be fairly sensitive to be alarmed or distressed over it. He took the lights down after police spoke to him.”

After posting a video of police at his house in 2016, following complaints over his Christmas lights, McGawley took aim at traffic problems in Blackpool with his risque decorations in 2017.

And he also used lights to tell trick-or-treaters he was not in at Halloween - along with an image of an offensive hand gesture.