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Surrey councillor ‘took on travellers with metal pole’

This is the moment a parish councillor allegedly took on a group of travellers with a weapon after they apparently invaded a playing field.

James Nicholls was arrested after he allegedly tried to stop the group leaving the King George V Playing Fields in Effingham, Surrey on August 25.

Guildford Magistrates’ Court heard the 60-year-old, who has been a councillor in the village for more than 30 years, had a metal pole in his car when police arrived at the scene.

James Nicholls is pictured on August 25 this year at King George V Playing Fields in Effingham, Surrey

He was arrested after he allegedly tried to stop a group of travellers leaving the playing fields

He was arrested after he allegedly tried to stop a group of travellers leaving the playing fields

Pictured is a caravan. Mr Nicholls, a Tory and the longest serving councillor in his area, was charged with four offences

Pictured is a caravan. Mr Nicholls, a Tory and the longest serving councillor in his area, was charged with four offences

Mr Nicholls was also charged when he allegedly refused to give officers a breath sample. 

Mr Nicholls, a Tory and the longest serving councillor in his area, was charged with four offences after police claimed he blocked off the playing field where a group of travellers were staying.

On searching his car, officers allegedly discovered a metal pole lying on the floor on the passenger side of his Range Rover.

Nicholls ‘absolutely’ denied all the charges at court today.

The prosecution told the court it would be calling members of the traveller community who called police. 

James Nicholls, 60, outside Guildford Magistrates' Court today 

James Nicholls, 60, outside Guildford Magistrates’ Court today 

Mr Nicholls faces charges including carrying an offensive weapon, using threatening or abusive words or behaviour and failing to provide a specimen of breath after the incident.

He admitted being present at the scene, but denied using strong language or attempting to intimidate anyone on the field.

He was released on bail ahead of a trial on December 18. 

Addressing Mr Nicholls, from Effingham in Surrey, presiding magistrate Karon Goodfellow said: ‘You have pleaded not guilty to four offences that have been put to you today and therefore there will be a trial.

‘You will be back in front of the court on December 18 this year. That will be in Staines. You are on conditional bail until that date.

‘You are prohibited from going to the King George V Playing Fields in Effingham, Surrey during times when the travellers are present. I have to warn you that if you were to commit an offence while on bail, it would be deemed as more serious.

‘If you fail to turn up on that date the trial will go on in your absence.’ 

Nicholls ‘absolutely’ denied all the charges at Guildford Magistrates’ Court today

Pictured are the playing fields.  He admitted being present at the scene, but denied using strong language or attempting to intimidate anyone on the field

Pictured are the playing fields.  He admitted being present at the scene, but denied using strong language or attempting to intimidate anyone on the field

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