By Angela Frewin
Public support and private funds have been flooding in for the two caterers being prosecuted for defying the beef-on-the-bone ban.
Hotelier Jim Sutherland of the Lodge Hotel, Carfraemill, in the Scottish Borders, is to appear before Selkirk Sheriff Court on 10 March for serving beef on the bone to 170 willing guests before Christmas (Caterer, 22 January, page 11).
Alan Coomber of the Bell Inn, Idel, East Sussex, expects to be charged this week after environmental health officers confiscated two T-bone steaks they bought from his pub. Coomber insists T-bones are his speciality and he intends to carry on serving them.
Both men face a maximum fine of £5,000 and/or six months in jail.
Sutherland and Coomber have both been deluged with calls of support from the public, including vegetarians, who are incensed by the ban's violation of freedom of choice.
Agrimart, a monthly newspaper for Scottish farmers, has launched a "war chest" for Sutherland's legal expenses, and Sutherland has already received several hundred pounds in individual donations.
Coomber - who has a German TV company interested in his story - is receiving similar support from London's Evening Standard newspaper, which has put £1,000 into the kitty.