The (very) Cold War: Van battle as ice-cream sellers lose their cool in seaside sunshine

Posted on 5:03 PM by Sameer Shah

Rising temperatures are normally good news for ice-cream sales.

But not when it's the sellers themselves who lose their cool, as happened when two vans ended up a little too close for comfort.

The scene was set for trouble when a van marked Mr Softy pulled up right alongside a rival Rolling Cones van, blocking customers from getting to its serving window.

Inevitably, an argument broke out - with the Mr Softy driver claiming the Rolling Cones van was parked on his patch by the seaside in Whitstable, Kent.

But he hadn't bargained on the Rolling Cones driver being able to produce a contract from the council to prove he was there legitimately.

Nevertheless, the Mr Softy driver dug in his heels and refused to move - despite getting a parking ticket.

Police were then called in, at which point the Mr Softy driver moved around the corner. However, officers found he was not licensed to operate there either and he left.

Pensioner Don Sims, who witnessed the drama, said: 'It was like something out of a gangster Mafia film. It was absolutely incredible.

'There was a bit of shouting when Mr Softy turned up telling everyone it was his patch and he had been there for years.

Jean West, who runs a nearby whelk stall, said: 'It became quite heated. There was a lot of swearing.'

The Rolling Cones driver, who refused to give his name, said: 'There were some words exchanged.

'There's no such thing as a patch and the other guy was just trying to come in here and make some money.'

Rob Davies, spokesman for Canterbury council, said: 'The Whitstable Harbour Board has given one ice cream trader a pitch at the harbour, for which he pays a fee.

'Nobody else has permission to sell ice cream from a mobile van there.'

A Kent Police spokesman said of the incident: 'At one point they were blocking each other's counters and stopping customers from using either van over a dispute that one had a licence to sell.

The vans still did not move so a police officer went along and talked to one of the drivers, a 47-year-old man from Swanley in Kent.

'It seems that he took the advice of the police officer and no offences were recorded.'

The unnamed Mr Softy driver refused to comment.

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