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Well-meaning cyclist gets into trouble

George Debono, author of the report on environmental pollution being led down the steps of the Auberge de Castille, the Prime Minister's office in Valletta yesterday by the policeman on duty. True to his beliefs, Dr Debono had cycled up to Castille and was about to rest his bicycle by one of the cannon outside the PM's office but the arm of the law proved too long and he was stopped in his tracks. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier.

George Debono, author of the report on environmental pollution being led down the steps of the Auberge de Castille, the Prime Minister's office in Valletta yesterday by the policeman on duty. True to his beliefs, Dr Debono had cycled up to Castille and was about to rest his bicycle by one of the cannon outside the PM's office but the arm of the law proved too long and he was stopped in his tracks. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier.

An environmentally-conscious doctor who cycled to Auberge de Castille to present the Prime Minister with a report on pollution and the state of the environment had his particulars taken by a policeman stationed there after he reportedly tried to rest his bicycle against one of the cannon there.

The incident took place at about midday yesterday when George Debono, the author of a report on pollution and energy conservation in Malta, arrived outside Castille on his bicycle.

As a photographer of The Times was taking pictures of Dr Debono on the steps of Castille, the policeman on duty walked up to him and ordered him to move away from the steps, saying that was the Office of the Prime Minister. The policeman then asked Dr Debono for his particulars and demanded to see his identity card.

Police sources said the officer had objected because Dr Debono wanted to place his bicycle next to one of the two cannon just outside the door to Castille.

The policeman on duty even told the photographer of The Times to delete any pictures he had taken. The photographer refused and the policeman then took the photographer's particulars.

When a journalist of The Times asked the policeman for an explanation as to what was happening, the officer referred the journalist to the police Community and Media Relations Unit. When the journalist reacted saying that both the officer and the police force could then react to a news story about the incident that would appear on The Times, the officer ordered the journalist to give him his particulars.

The policeman was heard calling a superior to inform him/her about what had happened and that "a journalist had taken his official number and a press photographer had taken photographs of him".

Sources said the Police Commissioner had been informed about the incident.

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