Outside Edge: Gym rat should be lockered up

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The Independent Online

If you're planning to keep fit during the forthcoming festivities, you don't need any more reasons to avoid going to the gym. Steven Lawani will be piling on the pounds rather than stealing them after being given a five-year ban from all leisure centres in the UK.

He has racked up his 11th conviction – a personal best, surely – for stealing from people's gym lockers across north London. And Nathan Sparrow has been fined £185 – at a cost of £1,200 to the taxpayer – for fraud after borrowing a friend's gym card for an hour in Leicester. It works out as 2.2 pence based on a monthly subscription of £15.99. Meanwhile Louise Whyte of Orpington, Kent has had to change the name of her personal trainer business, Penelope Fitstop, after being contacted by Warner Brothers, owners of Hanna-Barbera which created the Wacky Races cartoon, over "intellectual property rights" to the racing driver. She's now Penelope Fitstar. OK, it wasn't a great name anyway, but "Fatstop" might have edged past Hollywood's fat cats.


Pairs of ice skates in Greg Howe's garage in Bournemouth. He built an 82ft by 32ft ice rink in his and next door's front garden using a refrigeration system that turned 25,000 litres of water into 25 tons of ice. Anyone can use it in return for donations to the RNLI. If it melts, they may be needed.

In Italy thongs can only get better

Considering what they allow their prime minister to get up to, Italian officials are becoming unusually strict. In Castellammare di Stabia they banned mini skirts and playing football in the street. Now councillor Pietro Giovannoni has told Padua's provincial assembly to stop funding the region's marathon "since the winners are always Africans and foreigners in underpants". It's a good job he's not spending the weekend in Boston, where they held the annual Santa Speedo Run yesterday. Participants must wear Father Christmas hats and skimpy trunks – but "Please, no thongs!" Meanwhile Italy's Olympic Committee are trying to ban cyclist Lorenzo Bernucci because of his links to blood-doping, which seems fair enough, but for some reason they also want to ban his wife, brother, mother and father-in-law. Strangely they didn't mention godfathers.

Good week

The Great Britain women's volleyball team will take part in London 2012 after being accepted by the Olympic Qualifying Standards Panel despite having their funding axed in October – the men's team are already there, as are the women's beach team... Ronnie O'Sullivan Snr, who was able to watch his son in action for the first time in 18 years at the UK Championships after his release from prison... Tomasz Gollob becomes the first speedway rider to win the FIM Personality of the Year award while Davey Ward, 18, is the youngest to win motorcycling's Rookie of the Year award.

Bad week

Tennis legend Pete Sampras had most of his trophies stolen from a warehouse in Los Angeles, while British swimmer Mark Foster also lost some of his medals – from his car when it was robbed in London... Eric Cantona, whose "social and economic revolution" calling on the public to withdraw their money from banks didn't happen... Matt Arnot, Orient fan, left the FA Cup Second Round replay with Droylsden at 2-0 down with 30 minutes left and missed eight goals in an 8-2 win for the O's.

A new home strip for the German team

What would the Italians have made of the football match in Brazil between Santos and Monterrey, where two girls were ejected from the ground for baring their breasts when they saw the TV cameras were on them. The Germans would love it, if the cult football team St Pauli are anything to go by. The people that brought us personal beer pumps, and miniature trains carrying hot dogs, are to allow strippers from nearby Susi's Bar to perform at their games because the bar's clientele have dropped off as a result of more men going to the footie. Meanwhile, at the University of Cincinnati, the American football mascot M Robert Garfield III, dressed as a bearcat, was arrested for starting a snowball fight among fans during a game. Police captain Jeff Corcoran explained: "He was throwing them at the crowd and so, of course, people threw them back, missed him and hit other people." You don't say. Next week: elf and safety fears over Santa's grotty grotto.