Van driver who filmed policeman parked on double yellows arrested under Terrorism Act

Andy Mayfield
Andy Mayfield

A van driver was detained under an anti-terror laws, held for 12 hours and strip-searched after he got into a row with a police officer who had parked on double yellow lines in Preston.

Andy Mayfield, 53, of Powis Road in Ashton-on-Ribble had started filming the city’s police station after his run-in with the officer on Wednesday, January 17.

Police arrested him under the Terrorism Act 2000 after what is believed to be the third time he was warned not to film the station. He had been found filming twice in 2017 before his arrest in January.

Mr Mayfield, a van driver for distributor of car parts Euro Car Parts, said: “I was just going for my dinner and there was a police officer parked on double yellows coming out of a butty shop.

“It’s one of those things that really, really riles me. They have one rule for themselves and one rule for us.

“I walked up and I just said ‘what would happen if I parked there?’ and he swore and said ‘you would get a ticket’.

“So I just got my phone out and started videoing the policeman and the next thing I knew I was surrounded by police officers.

“The sergeant came out and asked for my name. I refused to give them my name.

“There were probably around five or six police officers round me. The sergeant said ‘give me your name or I’m going to arrest you’. I said ‘I’m not obliged to give you my name’.

“So they put me in handcuffs and took me to the foyer of the police station.

“Then I was bundled into the back of a van and taken by the sergeant and a police officer to Newton Heath terrorism centre in Manchester. I was strip-searched and had my DNA and fingerprints taken.”

As part of police investigations into Mr Mayfield, his house was searched and his company van was seized.

According to section 58 of the Terrorism Act 2000 a person commits an offence if he collects or makes a record of information of a kind likely to be useful to a person committing or preparing an act of terrorism.

When first asked, both Lancashire and Greater Manchester police forces said they had no record of Mr Mayfield being arrested, but when the Post provided the paperwork for his arrest, Lancashire Police provided a statement.

A spokesman said: “Around 2.25pm on January 17 a man was observed acting suspiciously and filming the entrance gates and area surrounding Preston Police Station on Lancaster Road North.

“The man, aged 53 and from Preston, was spoken with by officers at the scene but became uncooperative. Due to concerns over his actions the man was arrested on suspicion of an offence under the Terrorism Act and later interviewed before being released under investigation.

“Following a full investigation into the circumstances the investigation has concluded and the man released without charge.”

Mr Mayfield was arrested at 1.50pm on Wednesday, January 17 and released in the early hours of Thursday morning at 2.30am.

“If it hadn’t been for my solicitor I wouldn’t have been able to get home,” he said.

“This sergeant really had it in for me. He had snatched the phone out of my hand - I’m sure he’s not allowed to do that. I really do feel that my civil rights have been abused.

“When I got interviewed by the terrorism squad they were just asking ‘what are you doing here?’

“The sergeant was on a power trip. For them to take me to a terror unit is a bit much and for them to strip search me as well.”

In 2011, Mr Mayfield admitted stealing £193 of food from Asda. Preston magistrates had conditionally discharged him for a year following the theft.

He told the Post he had pleaded guilty to the theft at the time and admitted he was not perfect, but added: “The amount of times I’ve seen police vans parked on double yellows really annoys me. We get ticketed for it. I’m a van driver - we have to be careful where we park. It’s totally unfair.”