Wetherspoons manager makes poppy seller stand in rain

Staff writer

Pub chain Wetherspoons has apologised after staff forced a poppy seller who was seeking shelter outside one of their pubs - to stand out in the rain.

Pete West, 47, was selling the Royal British Legion's decorative poppies to passers-by as the heavens opened. To stay dry, Pete had stood under a concrete canopy which forms part of The Chevalier pub in Exeter, Devon.

The military veteran who had served his country in Northern Ireland and Bosnia said a manager then came outside to tell him this was not allowed as he didn't have a licence. This in turn angered many of the pub's patrons who left the establishment in solidarity with the poppy seller's plight.

Pete told the Daily Star: "A guy came out and said 'you have to move away from the building. He began telling me I was on their property and they were not licenced for me to be there. I was not on their bit of the pathway, the black tiled bit on the strip. I was on the public pathway. I told him 'I'm not going to stand in rain chucking it down', I had my vendors badge on me yet he was telling me 'you're not allowed to do collections here. I went away, had a cup of coffee and cooled off. When I came back I didn't want an argument so I went back and stood outside (Bargain Buys) opposite."

A spokesman for Wetherspoons said: "This was an error and should not have happened. We apologise to the gentleman concerned."

A former military driver, Pete was wearing the medals he earned in the transport corps as he "loves to make an effort, especially this time of year."