London, Apr 8 (ANI): A furniture storeowner was slapped with a fine of 80 pounds for displaying a 4ft stone penis in his shop window.
Police swooped on the shop after shocked shoppers complained about the offending appendage, which was displayed in his shop, Simply Dutch, near Bedale, North Yorkshire.
The firm, which bills itself as "the most interesting store in the North", recently stocked a new range of garden furniture, including the 200 pounds hand-carved sandstone willy. cting on the complaint, police removed the ornament and fined Hadlow for "displaying an item liable to cause harassment, alarm and distress".
Hadlow has to pay the fine by Friday to release it from Northallerton police station, or face possible court action.
However, the entrepreneur who lives in Yarm, near Stockton, Teesside, is refusing to back down, saying the willy is in keeping with the store's quirky ethos.
He has even started a 'Free Willy' campaign in store and on networking website Facebook.
"It's true what they say, the world is a crazy place and I am sure the local constabulary has better things to do with their time," the Sun quoted Hadlow as saying.
"It is just another example of overzealous policing. When they told me, I didn't think they were being serious.
"We might have had one or two complaints about it, but most customers loved it as they know the type of things we stock.
"In the past we have had naked stone strippers, Roman and Greek-style statues and all sorts of other weird and wonderful pieces of furniture in the window which haven't caused such a stir.
"So I am a little shocked to say the least, that an 80 pounds ransom is being demanded for the phallus' return," he added.
A police spokesman said: "The owner is displaying a penis in the window to attract publicity. A member of the public complained to police about the statue. He is committing an offence under the Public Order Act 1986." (ANI)