Metric Martyrs: The story of the Sunderland greengrocer prosecuted over a bunch of bananas

Episode, many believe, paved way for UK’s ultimate departure from the EU. By Chiara Giordano

Saturday 18 September 2021 19:58
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<p>Sunderland greengrocer Steve Thoburn (right) was convicted of two offences in 2001 after selling 34p worth of bananas using de-stamped imperial scales</p>

Sunderland greengrocer Steve Thoburn (right) was convicted of two offences in 2001 after selling 34p worth of bananas using de-stamped imperial scales

More than two decades ago, on 9 April 2001, Sunderland greengrocer Steve Thoburn was convicted of two offences after selling an undercover Trading Standards officer 34p worth of bananas using de-stamped imperial scales.

Little could anyone present that day have known, but those actions would effectively serve as the catalyst for Britain’s departure from the European Union – or so many people now believe.

The story began a year earlier in April 2000 when a Trading Standards officer visited the greengrocer’s stall in the city’s bustling Southwick Market and smashed the official stamp on three sets of scales because they only weighed goods in pounds and ounces.

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