A PUZZLED poppy seller from Weymouth has spoken of her shock after being told to pack up and go home by police.
Jan Hinton, 51, has been visiting homes collecting for the Royal British Legion in Littlemoor for the last decade.
She was left stunned when police warned her to stop selling poppies after dark and to stop collecting around Hallowe’en.
Mrs Hinton and poppy partner Charlotte Warren-Sinclaire, 16, were visiting properties in Honeysuckle Close when they were approached.
“The officers said they had received reports of suspicious callers,” she said.
“We understand they have to answer all calls so we showed them our identification badges, our tins and our poppy trays.
“We even had certificates from our Royal British Legion area representative, but it didn’t seem to matter.
“They just told us to stop. They told us not to collect after dark and not to collect this week because it’s Hallowe’en.
“They said if we carried on they’d pull the plug on the Royal British Legion doing house-to-house collections.
“I thought I was hearing it wrong.”
Mrs Hinton, of Culliford Way, said collecting during daylight hours – and avoiding the Hallowe’en period – was impossible.
She said: “Charlotte is at college and everyone’s at work in the day. We don’t collect past 8pm anyway.
“We don’t collect on Hallowe’en night or bonfire night and we don’t do weekends because people don’t appreciate it, so that only gives us eight days.
“We can only collect house-to-house. We’re not licensed street sellers, we have to knock on people’s doors. What else are we supposed to do? I’ve never known anything like it.”
Mrs Hinton said she informed police when and where she would be selling and gave contact details.
“I guess the officers were aggravated because they had to come out and investigate,” she added. We expect to see police cars when we’re out but we never expected that reaction.”
Littlemoor councillor Mark Tewkesbury said: “Why should these people be stopped from selling poppies all of a sudden? It’s just wrong.
“Jan’s been doing it for 11 years. She’d notified the police beforehand and it just seems bizarre to me.”
A Dorset Police spokesman said: “We received a call from a member of the public that we followed up.
“Many people, particularly the elderly, are genuinely worried about bogus callers and we encourage them to notify police if they are concerned.
“I cannot comment on what the officers said but we were quite satisfied that it was nothing untoward. We do not have any problem whatsoever with legitimate collecting of this kind.”