Just tell Southampton Council “There is no LAW which says I can’t pick blackberries on this Common Land. Now get a real job you parasites.“.
“Blackberry picking has been banned by a council which says it poses a risk to the environment.
Regular picker Alan Gibson, 47, who organises ‘foraging picnics’, was told by Southampton Council that picking any of nature’s fruits on Southampton Common is not permitted.
Mr Gibson, who writes a blog on wild fruit picking, had been planning a foraging picnic on the common as part of an autumn harvest festival event.
But staff at the council’s Hawthorns Wildlife Centre told him that blackberry picking was banned because the common was a Site of Special Scientific Interest. home to a population of endangered great crested newts.
Hawthorns centre staff later admitted that was not the case, but Mr Gibson says a manager insisted the blackberry picking ban stood.
He’s now launched a campaign to fight the ‘ludicrous’ ruling, insisting that families should be allowed to exercise the ancient ‘freedom to forage’.
‘Picking fruit is a healthy, child-friendly activity,’ Mr Gibson said. ‘The common is a place that families have always gone to, to gather blackberries and nuts.
‘It is an activity that anyone with an interest in engaging their children with their local environment would do.’
Mr Gibson has now appealed to the city’s Court Leet, which has sat since the 14th century, to hear ‘presentments’ from citizens on matters of local concern, to clarify the legislation.
The court has no power to punish but exists as a forum for citizens to air their grievances, which are then passed on to the council.
A council spokesman said there were no laws which ban blackberry picking on the common but said that ‘large scale blackberry or nut collecting would be inappropriate’ if it damaged plants and habitat protected by wildlife legislation’.
He added a new code of conduct for visitors to the common was being drawn up and Mr Gibson would be invited to contribute to it.”