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Police investigate after campaigner reports he was punched by ice cream van driver

Phil Cowan has asked trader whether he had a licence

25 March, 2021 — By Bronwen Weatherby

Phil Cowan campaigned to save the Albert pub

POLICE are investigating after a community campaigner said he was punched by an ice-cream van trader.

Phil Cowan told how he was dragged along the pavement on Sunday afternoon after asking the driver whether he had a licence to sell ice creams in Albert Terrace, Primrose Hill.

He said: “I’d never seen the van before but it was parked illegally on the opposite end of the street to where there is a licensed pitch. This sort of thing has been going on for years, as people who live in the area will know, and we’ve worked with the council and traders to get licensed pitches in certain places.”

Police confirmed that they had received an allegation of an assault.

“I tapped on his window and just asked if he would mind getting a licence to park there,” said Mr Cowan.

“He immediately jumped out of the cab, punched me, wrestled me to the ground, then began kicking my face and body. He then drove off. I’ve been left extremely traumatised by it.”

Mr Cowan said he was left bruised and grazed with a bloody nose but he did not need hospital treatment.

A police spokesperson said: “Officers have been in contact with the victim and an investigation is now underway. No arrests have been made at this time.”

Camden Council’s markets team, which deals with licensing ice-cream van pitches, said it was also aware of the incident.

Mr Cowan has been among campaigners calling for better van regulation and action over air pollution caused by ice-cream sellers who leave engines running.

In the past year, the Town Hall introduced an experimental licensing system which saw five sites made official pitches.

It announced this month that it has also secured £100,000 from the Defra Air Quality Fund for a project to install electric power supplies at licensed ice-cream van trading locations, helping to reduce particulate matter and nitrogen oxide emissions produced by engine idling.

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