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Ex-solicitor who gave up six-figure salary to become the human cannonball leader of a circus threatens to sue council

Chaplins Circus posters were torn down in Tring

Chaplins Circus posters were torn down in Tring

A millionaire ex-solicitor who gave up a six-figure salary to become the human cannonball leader of a travelling circus says Tring Town Council may have destroyed his business.

Gary Stocker, 30, spoke out after he stuck posters all over the area to advertise his show at Pendley Manor – only for the authority to then tear them down.

He said: “We were invited to come to Tring by Dacorum Borough Council as part of their tourism initiative. We did not want to come to Tring.”

He said that his company Chaplin’s Circus – which performed in Tring between Thursday and Sunday – had been focusing on towns with a more established circus scene.

But he said he changed his mind after the borough council persuaded Pendley Manor to reduce its fee for allowing the circus to use its grounds.

He said: “For circuses and funfairs, there is a legal right to put up posters – to preserve the cultural traditions of England. Most councils know about these rights. I sent a letter to Dacorum before I came to remind them. But some of these town councils are a law unto themselves.”

He said the town council’s actions had cost him at least £10,000 – £2 for each of the 1,000 or more posters and more in lost ticket sales.

He is now considering whether to take legal action against the authority.

But Tring Town Council clerk Michael Corry said: “We have always taken down things which are flyposting and we will not make exceptions for the circus.

“At the moment, I am not convinced we have done anything wrong.”

He said that the town council had actually helped advertise the circus by putting up signs in its information office – but that flyposting is illegal.

 

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