Wake Up London// 14-05-21// BAND

Busking band championed by Mayor Boris Johnson arrested for busking

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Busking band championed by Mayor Boris Johnson arrested for busking
21st May 2014

A band tipped as London’s best buskers by Mayor Boris Johnson have been arrested during a gig in Leicester Square. 

Police led away the King’s Parade as they came to the end of their set in front of a bewildered crowd on Wednesday. 

The four piece from Cricklewood refused to reveal their names to officers after being told to stop playing. 

They were then marched into a police van and taken to a high security police station in Paddington where they were locked up in cells for several hours. 

The group, who were publicly championed by London's Mayor last month as part of his 'Back Busking' initiative, posted video footage of the incident on YouTube this week.

Buskers in Westminster are not required to hold a permit but officers instead arrested the band under the terms of an archaic Metropolitan Police Act from 1839.

Band members Olly Corpe, 22, Chris Brent, 24, and Tom English and Sam Rooney, both 23, have encouraged people to voice their opposition to the move.

Writing on YouTube, they said: "We were busking in Leicester Square, London on Wednesday 14 May when we were arrested by officers under Met Police Act 54 Section 14, only two weeks after being named London's Best Buskers by Mayor of London.

"Spread the word so we can stop this from happening to other musicians."

A Met Police spokesman told the Evening Standard the group were arrested for unauthorised and unlicensed street performing contrary to section 54 of the Metropolitan Police Act 1839 without any licence to gather money.

He said they were taken to a central London police station but had since been released with no further action.

Defending the arrest, he said: "Spontaneous unauthorised unlicensed street performing causes anti-social behaviour and is a driver of crime.

"There is strong evidence that this type of street performing attracts thieves as large crowds gather.

He continued: "There are numerous licensed spots across the West End where street performers can perform in a safe and lawful manner."

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