In the mid 1980s I was appointed a magistrate sitting on the Salisbury bench in Wiltshire. For a year or so I was quite content in my position until the problem of access to Stonehenge during the summer solstice reared its ugly head in Salisbury and the surrounding district. Basically, for those of you who do not know the story, the hippies and travelling folk wanted to celebrate the solstice at the stones, but ancient laws were dragged up to stop them doing this. Because of the number of arrests, special court sittings were introduced and I spent a number of valuable days listening to prosecuting counsel explain why some obscure law of 300 years ago had been broken.
During this time I started to think to myself that some of these laws were REALLY STUPID. Some of the days in court became a farce and I soon became disenchanted with the whole system and resigned. I did, however, retain my interest in stupid laws and have been an avid collector ever since. I hope you find this book informative, as well as humorous.
I would like to thank everyone who has helped me in my research, especially Eliza Kennedy and Suzanne Paterson. I would also like to mention my two daughters, Kate and Caroline, who have just informed me that it is against the law for me to enter their bedroom. And lastly, a big thank you to my editor, Helen Cumberbatch, who apart from doing a great job, also amazed me by knowing of John Shuttleworth, the versatile singersongwriter from Sheffield. Now there is a man I should write a book about!