Students holding 'offensive' boards saying 'f*** the poor' on street fined for anti-social behaviour

A similar stunt in London showed the public to be angry about poverty issue

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The Independent Online

Two students have been slapped with fines by police after shoppers complained about them holding signs saying “f*** the poor” in the middle of a university town in Scotland.

The undergraduates from St Andrews University in Fife, where Prince William and Kate Middleton first met, were holding the signs on Saturday afternoon to provoke reactions in order to gauge the public’s opinions on poverty.

Police Scotland said the pair were given fixed penalty tickets under anti-social behaviour legislation, The Scotsman reported.

The stunt on Market Street echoes a very similar act by homelessness charity the Pilion Trust, in which a man walked around London with a sandwich board bearing the same words just to see how much the public cared.

He was approached by passers-by who appeared to be extremely impassioned and riled upon seeing his sign, however it was a stark contrast to when the man flipped the board over to show the side saying “help the poor”, which seems to have garnered no attention.

Many of those in Fife complained that the students could have brought the issue to light without resorting to shock tactics, especially with young children having possibly read the “offensive” words on the sign.

Patricia Robertson said on the “Overheard in St Andrews” Facebook group: “There are other ways of getting attention for their cause. Have some respect for people who find the use of that word in public offensive and for children please!”

The woman, who seems to live locally, originally posted the photo of one of the students on the Facebook page saying: “Anyone know who this idiot is?”

Lisa Rees added to the discussion saying: “I have 3 young children and find this extremely offensive. If they were to go to school and repeat this language, they would be sent home, who does this benefit then? If this guy was to stand there shouting this, he would probably be arrested! So yes, this is wrong even if it may be for a good cause.”

Others claimed that they found the concept of poverty still in existence in the UK much more offensive than any words that could be considered improper.

Stuart Bradwel addressed those who declared that the sign was offensive by saying: “Shelter the poor little kids with houses and clothes and food from that inherently evil collection of letters that they're going to end up using anyway, because that’s going to set them up for a life of warped middle-class morality much better than actually talking to them about the issue of poverty would.”