AN ice cream seller faces jail after refusing to stop selling flakes and cones in a park he was banned from by a council.
Laurence Vella, 66, claims he has been unable to secure a £600 licence for the plot in his 40 years as a vendor.
The dad-of-five was slapped with two injunctions after defying the local authority and racking up a whopping 300 tickets.
He has even lost his home during a lengthy battle with London's Richmond Council over a small section of a car park.
Laurence gave up selling ice cream in October, but now faces a stint in prison over a previous breach of a court order.
He told The Sun: "The council have railroaded me out of Richmond after being there for 40 years.
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"They use tactics like you wouldn't believe. I've spent about £50,000 fighting them.
"They've brought me to the stage where I'm insolvent. I've lost my house over it and I can't make a living.
"I've operated all this time and paid my taxes. I must be doing something right.
"They wanted to rent the land to certain people who are in their pocket. Why have they been able to get a licence?
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"This is like David and Goliath. I can't match the money they have. But what are you supposed to do, lay down and die?"
Laurence, of Teddington, South West London, was first told to move on over claims he was blocking deliveries to a pub.
But with the pub no longer running, the dad feels like he has been held back from making a living by the council.
Previous court orders meant he could only trade lawfully as an itinerant ice cream salesman.
But after working on the same plot as his mum did and competing against rivals, the seller wasn't ready to give up his spot.
He was fined £8,000 in 2013 for operating on the patch and has been ruthlessly defying the council in the years since.
Laurence, who also has convictions for unlawful trading, will now appear at the High Court on April 27, where he has been told he faces the prospect of a "committal to prison".
A Richmond Council spokeswoman said: “Mr Vella is permitted to trade as an itinerant ice cream trader but has traded unlawfully in the Borough at sites where he did not have a street trading licence or is not permitted to trade because it is a park.
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"He has repeatedly breached injunctions put in place by the council to prevent unlawful trading, trespassing and damage to council property.
"The council has a responsibility to enforce injunctions and Mr Vella’s persistent refusal to trade lawfully over a long period of time demands that the council take action to protect members of the public and our public spaces.”
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