In Brief

Skip raider says he will 'do it again' after CPS drops charges

'This is how we live' - William James says 'hundreds' of people in London are eating food from bins

THE Crown Prosecution Service has dropped its case against three men accused of stealing food out of an Iceland skip. 

Paul May, Jason Chan and William James, all residents of a squat in north London, were arrested last October for jumping over a wall at the back of the supermarket and taking some tomatoes, mushrooms, cheese and Mr Kipling cakes out of a bin.

The CPS insisted there was "significant public interest" in pursuing the case, which prompted an outcry in the media and on Twitter yesterday.

According to The Guardian, Malcolm Walker, the chief executive of Iceland, contacted the CPS to request that the case be dropped, stating that the company had not sought a prosecution.

One of the defendants William James has since said he has been taking food from bins for "a few years" and plans to continue doing so in the future.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, James claimed he knew "hundreds" of people in London who lived off food from bins – a practice described as 'skipping' or 'freeganism'.

"This is how we live – this is how a lot of people live in London now," he said. "I don't think it belongs to anybody. It's in a bin. No one wants it." When asked if he should have climbed over a wall to get to the bins, James said he thought it was "wrong for people to try to lock it away" and was "not going to feel guilty about it".

James said he lived with around 30 people who all lived off food in this way, some too poor to buy food and some wanting to take it because it would otherwise go to waste.

His lawyer Mike Schwarz said he was "really surprised" that his clients had been prosecuted under the "pre-Victorian" 1824 Vagrancy Act and described it as a "sign of desperation" by the police and prosecution.

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