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Bankside police officer stands trial

Former Bankside community police officer Christopher Keenan has appeared at Middlesex Guildhall Crown Court accused of conspiring to pervert the course of justice and conspiring to corrupt an employee of Southwark Council.

It is alleged that Keenan bought an ice cream van at a cost of 3,000 and established an ice cream business with co-defendant James McCall, a hot-dog and ice-cream vendor, in the constable's own patrol area around Tate Modern.

Michael Holland, for the prosecution, told the Court that one of the beat officer's duties was to help Southwark Council to enforce a trading ban but Keenan would tip off McCall if a council raid was planned.

Keenan denies the charges.

Anthony Whittaker, a market inspector, and Leslie Armstrong, a street-trading manager, each deny one count of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice by taking steps to thwart the prosecution of illegal traders between May 1, 2000 and November 28, 2003.

McCall has admitted his part in the deception.

The trial, which is expected to last six weeks, continues.

• Southwark councillors have agreed on new moves to regulate riverside trading. Members at the Borough & Bankside Community Council voted to ask the Licensing Committee to consider designating Bankside for street trading. The proposal is for a limited number of licensed pitches. There will be a formal consultation period during February.

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