Charlene’s gran upset by T-shirt ban

Charlene Downe's grandmother, Jessie Brock, who has been given a section 14 order (given out for a public order offence) by the police for sitting on a bench outside Mr Beanz wearing Justice for Charlene t-shirt

Charlene Downe's grandmother, Jessie Brock, who has been given a section 14 order (given out for a public order offence) by the police for sitting on a bench outside Mr Beanz wearing Justice for Charlene t-shirt

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THE distraught grandmother of missing schoolgirl Charlene Downes has hit out at police after they banned her from campaigning outside the takeaway at the centre of her granddaughter’s murder probe.

Jessie Brock, 72, from North Shore, was sitting on a bench outside Mr Beanz wearing a ‘Justice for Charlene’ T-shirt when officers handed her a public order notice – forcing her to move away from the area.

Mr Beanz takeaway on Dickson Road, Blackpool. '10-4-2011

Mr Beanz takeaway on Dickson Road, Blackpool. '10-4-2011

The distressed pensioner (pictured above) claims an officer told her she was wearing an “offensive T-shirt” and would have to leave the area outside the takeaway on Dickson Road where members of protest group the English Defence League (EDL) were staging a demonstration.

Mrs Brock said: “It’s terrible, I was so upset. I was just sitting there to support my granddaughter.

“I think about Charlene all the time and it’s my little seat where I just sit and talk to people going past about Charlene.”

Mrs Brock was given a Section 14 order which gives police the power to order demonstrators to confine their protest to a certain place.

The incident, which happened last Friday, comes as hundreds of EDL members from across the country prepare to stage a rally along the Promenade in Blackpool on Saturday, May 28.

Mrs Brock, of Boothley Road, says she has sat “peacefully” on the same bench outside the takeaway for the last few weeks.

She added: “My T-shirt only says Justice for Charlene – how can that be offensive?

“I’m disgusted by what they said, I wouldn’t have thought they would say something like that. The police are supposed to be for justice.”

The owners of Mr Beanz – Iyad Albattikhi, 33, and 53-year-old Mohammed Reveshi – stood trial in relation to Charlene’s disappearance. The former St Mary’s High pupil was last seen alive in 2003.

Both men were acquitted.

The pair were back in court last week when a judge rescinded their late-night licence after hearing the store had become a centre for grooming under-age girls for sex.

Police say Mrs Brock was politely asked to move and an officer even gave her a chair to sit on.

A Lancashire Police spokesman added: “We’ve put in place a number of conditions for the protests outside Mr Beanz takeaway which includes limiting the number of people allowed to demonstrate right outside.

“Mrs Brock and a number of others were politely asked if they would move to an alternative site just across the road, which they kindly agreed to do, and seating was provided by officers.

“We apologise if she feels she was treated inappropriately, but we have a duty to make sure these protests are facilitated peacefully and to balance the right of those who wish to protest with the rights of those who live and work in area.”

But Charlene’s mum, Karen, says she was so disgusted with the way her mother was treated, she ripped the order up.

She said: “She’s no bother to anyone. My mum is lovely and she was sticking up for her grand-daughter.

“They took her name and address, we were so upset.

“I had to go into a nearby pub and ask them if we could borrow a stool for her to sit on.

“That was a public bench and mum is not a trouble maker.”

Members of EDL have pledged to demonstrate outside the takeaway every week until Charlene’s case is re-opened.

And EDL leader Tommy Robinson has vowed to bring five or six thousand people to march in the resort at the end of May.

He said: “We’ll hold a peace demonstration when we’ll let 500 lanterns off in memory of Charlene. This issue is one that’s sickened people across the country and it needs addressing.”

Mr Reveshi said: “I couldn’t care less if they want to demonstrate but I don’t want them outside my shop.”

A police spokesman said they had no information from officers to say the T-shirt had been deemed offensive.