While the pandemic and the winter chill have made them a distant memory, the jangling chimes of an approaching ice cream van were once a reassuring sound of summer.
But for one group of children they are likely to bring back rather more traumatic memories after a vendor jumped out and angrily chased them down the road while wielding a black baton.
Fortunately the terrified girls were able to dash to safety in a garden, and yesterday it emerged that the rogue vendor has been denied a street trading licence.
The incident in Bolton, Greater Manchester – said by the vendor to have been sparked by children throwing stones at the van – is believed to have happened last August and prompted parents to share warnings on Facebook.
Parents shared warnings on Facebook following the incident last August (file picture)
Sharing a photograph of the alleged offender’s Super Whippy vehicle, one mother posted that the driver of the van had just chased a group of friends ‘with a black type of bat threatening them to get in the back of the van’.
She added that ‘luckily’ one girl managed to run ‘straight to her house’ while ‘the other girls managed to run into a garden’, saying police had been informed.
Yesterday it emerged that the unnamed vendor had appeared before a council committee to appeal for a new licence to operate his van.
According to newly-released minutes, statements from two parents recorded how the vendor ‘wanted the children to get into the ice cream van and subsequently chased the children whilst holding a black baton in his hand’.
They state that the ice cream man admitted ‘he got out of the van to remonstrate with the children and also that he had a stick in his hand, which he had got from his vehicle’.
The incident reminded some of Peter Kay’s 2000 comedy The Ice Cream Man Cometh about a seller with a hatred for children
It recorded: ‘He said that he did chase them but only to find out where they lived so he could tell their parents what they had been doing in terms of allegedly throwing stones at his vehicle.’
The minutes state that the vendor gave evidence to councillors in which he changed his account and denied chasing the children or having a weapon.
It concluded: ‘The committee’s primary duty is of concern for the safety and well-being of the public and there is reasonable cause to refuse to grant the street trading consent.’
For some, the encounter sparked memories of Bolton comedian Peter Kay’s 2000 comedy The Ice Cream Man Cometh about an ice cream vendor with a pathological dislike of children.
With licences to trade at popular locations such as city parks costing as much as £25,000, ice cream vendors have sometimes overstepped the mark in defending their rights.
In 2012 a Mr Whippy seller was filmed coming to blows with his Mr Yummy opponent on a street in Blackburn, Lancashire before smashing his rival’s window with a tyre lever.
Four years later another Bolton ice cream man, Mohammed Yousaf, then 47, narrowly avoided being jailed after threatening to kill rival Nadeem Akhtar and smashing the windows of his van in the night in a bid to muscle onto his spot ahead of the summer holidays.
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