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Stormtrooper raising cash for charity in city defends council worker who moved him on.

Byline: ELIS SANDFORD News Reporter news@trinitymirror.com

THE Coventry stormtrooper who was banned from collecting money for the air ambulance has spoken out - defending the woman who moved him along.

Paul Heritage was dressed up as the Star Wars character when he joined a group of air ambulance volunteers in fundraising, when a council worker demanded that he leave.

Though the air ambulance volunteers branded the worker a "jobsworth", Paul has spoken out in her defence, saying that she was only doing her job.

He noted that the incident occurred just days after the London tube attack, and with the HSBC City Ride taking place that same day, he did not blame the worker for her heavy handed approach.

Paul said: "In defence of the lady who asked me to move on, it was her duty to do so.

"The bike thing was on that Sunday and only a couple of days after the tube bombing in London. She was only thinking of security."

A regular presence on the streets of Coventry, as either a stormtrooper or a human statue, last Sunday was the first time that he had attracted the attention of the authorities in five years.

Though he has the appropriate licence for a non musical entertainer from the council, he has been told that he no longer requires one.

He said: "To begin with when I started my hobby as a cosplayer I needed a licence from the council. That lasted a year and I still have it. But I went into the council offices to renew it and they told me I didn't need one because they were not doing them anymore, I just needed to follow the code of conducts when it came down to busking and being a living statue.

"I've been doing what I do for close to five years now and I've never been moved on."

Despite having no affiliation with the air ambulance collectors, Paul said that he frequently joins in when he spots a good cause.

"Sometimes I'm a living statue in the city where I have my own bucket and I do no more than a couple of hours," he said.

"Other times I'll have a wander around town in my armour so people can get a photo if they want.

"Other times if I see a collection, such as the air ambulance, I'll stand with them for a visual point."

Despite his removal last weekend, he has no intention to stop, saying: "It's easy for me to do this because I live in the city centre. It's a hobby that I love and lots of people are happy to see a stormtrooper."

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Sep 27, 2017
Words:445
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