A milkman was yesterday cleared of employing a five-year-old boy who died when the float ran over him.

Charges were dropped against John Marinus, 29, at Wells Street Magistrates Court.

In a prosecution brought by Greenwich council, the dairy, Unigate, and Mr Marinus were both accused of contravening the Children and Young Persons' Act by illegally employing an under-age boy - John Naylor, who died last September. The case against Unigate was dropped earlier.

Neil Mercer, for the prosecution, told the court that on 4 September John Naylor, five, and his friend Ian Stone, eight, asked Mr Marinus for a ride on his milk float during an early morning round.

Mr Marinus agreed after the boys continually pestered him. He also let them deliver milk during his last delivery.

John Lamb, for the defence, said the boys had not been employed by the milkman, nor had they assisted him.

Dismissing the case, the magistrate, Malcolm Read, told Mr Marinus: 'To say John Naylor was assisting you in your trade was quite obviously wrong.