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Video: Police called to Beyton Parish Council due to a villager’s attempts to film councillors

PUBLISHED: 14:33 13 January 2015 | UPDATED: 10:12 14 January 2015

Beyton Parish Council called the police over filming at the Parish Council meeting. Back L-R: Andrew Nimmons, Alex Elmslie, front L-R: John Hobbs, Sandy Maynard, Jan Elmslie and Diane Hobbs.

Beyton Parish Council called the police over filming at the Parish Council meeting. Back L-R: Andrew Nimmons, Alex Elmslie, front L-R: John Hobbs, Sandy Maynard, Jan Elmslie and Diane Hobbs.

Archant

Police were called to a village meeting because a parishioner attempted to film councillors, it has emerged.

A screenshot from a video taken at a Beyton Parish Council meeting on January 6. Pictured is the wife of parish council chairman Roger Wyartt attempting to obstruct the camera's view of the council meeting.A screenshot from a video taken at a Beyton Parish Council meeting on January 6. Pictured is the wife of parish council chairman Roger Wyartt attempting to obstruct the camera's view of the council meeting.

It is the latest controversy to hit Beyton Parish Council and is linked to an ongoing row over the presence of geese on the village green – dubbed “goosegate”.

Local parishioner Sandra Maynard claims the council’s policy of reintroducing geese to the green is “inhumane” because some are killed by dogs or in accidents.

She has recently attempted to film parish meetings when the issue was being discussed.

The council was forced to accept the filming of meetings due to a change of law in 2014, which led to three members resigning.

The geese on Beyton village green.The geese on Beyton village green.

The latest unrest was at last week’s meeting, when Ms Maynard again attempted to film proceedings.

She claimed the position for filming provided by the council was unsuitable – so she filmed from elsewhere.

However, she said: “Someone just sat in front of me, obstructing the camera’s view.”

The proceedings were published to YouTube on Friday.

Ms Maynard has long argued that the geese are vulnerable to dog attacks and passing cars and would have inadequate shelter, with a previous 10 all ending up dead.

The parish council, following a poll of villagers which saw 78% support the reintroduction, bought 15 replacement geese for the village in the summer of 2014. Since then, the number has fallen to 12.

“It is embarrassing, calling the police, presumably to try and remove me. It is farcical. What a waste of police time,” said Ms Maynard.

Chairman Roger Wyartt last night refuted the allegation that it was a waste of time, saying it was in case the meeting “got out of hand”.

He said: “We now have to allow meetings to be filmed. We have been given guidelines from the Suffolk Association of Local Councils.

“It says the parish council chairman can set a designated filming area. She was not filming from the area we provided.

“I am quite a big fellow, I could have manhandled her out but that would have been a bigger headline than we are looking at now.

“The police were called, but when they arrived they were told that the situation had calmed down.”

The council does film its own meetings from a different position to that afforded to the public.

Both Ms Maynard and Mr Wyartt said they would consider sharing the footage, subject to acceptable conditions and full council approval.

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