Skipping and the law – Part III
Last week we looked in detail at the legal pitfalls that face would-be scavengers. Today we bring you one specific case – that of Sasha Hall, who last June was given a twelve month conditional discharge for handling stolen goods after she took and stored food from a bin outside a Tesco supermarket.
Sasha Hall, 21 at the time, saw that her local Tesco was throwing out thousands of pounds worth of chilled food following a power-cut, and decided to take some for herself and her family. A store manager reported her to the police, who found £215 worth of items in her fridge, including 100 packets of ham.
It would appear to be safe to say that Hall was not what we at Come Scavenge With Me would call a typical freegan, but all the same her case does serve to underline the importance of honesty in what you, as a ‘skipper’ do with the items you take from a bin.
The question of whether or not Hall had taken reasonable steps to establish if the items of food had been abandoned by Tesco remains to be answered, but one thing we do know is that the fact she was found with such huge quantities of food suggests she had obtained them with dishonest motives.
The judge at her preliminary hearing, Judge Rodger Hayward Smith QC, said as much himself, announcing, “This is more complex than I thought. She cannot consume 100 packs of ham. She was the conduit, things were being collected in her flat and she was going to distribute them.”
The implication of the judge’s remarks is that he believed Hall was likely to seek a profit through selling-on the food she had taken from the bins.
The court had previously been told that Tesco wasn’t seeking compensation for the food as it “had no value”. The fact that Hall was sentenced despite this statement highlights the fact that even if you are sure that the food you’re taking from a bin is unwanted, you must still be very careful in the way you go about scavenging it.