Machete joke leaves baker banned from market

George Hepher, owner of George’s Bakery, has been banned from St Ives market in Cambridgeshire after making a joke on his Facebook account that referenced machetes.

The council accused him of trying to incite violence.

George’s cakes had begun to melt after his position was moved into the sunlight, so he took to social media to encourage his customers to protest, but in doing so he used the word machete, and has subsequently been banned from the market.

The council said some may have read it and “not considered it to be a joke”.

23-year-old George said that after asking customers to complain to the council about the stall's move, the authority “still did nothing”.

He said: “On a Facebook post, (mine are often humorous and quite funny), we made a joke ...that we wanted to encourage people to bring placards and banners, and as a joke I used the word machetes, to the market as a form of protest.”

He said the council reported the post to the police who spoke to George. George’s Bakery has about 3,000 likes on Facebook and 26,000 Instagram followers.

He added: “They came to talk to me and they found the matter kind of funny. They basically advised me to edit the comment so I just took the word machete off of the post.”

A statement from the council said: “The decision to ban George's Bakery was not taken lightly but was proportionate to the comment made. Any person or business who appears to be inciting violence publicly against an individual or body is likely to be investigated formally - even if said jokingly. In the current climate of knife crime, there is the chance someone may have read the uncensored comment, not considered it to be a joke and acted on it.”