New £80 fine for swearing: what will it cost you?

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Don't dream of dropping anything heavy on your foot, and beware the day the bottom falls out of your shopping bags and you lose a dozen eggs and half a dozen glass jars over your trousers. Because if you accidentally let a swear word slip when you're expressing your anger, you could find yourself £80 poorer.

The rules against boisterous behaviour are part of the latest council initiative. So could you be in trouble?

Barnsley Rule
At the moment, if you can avoid swearing in Barnsley Town Centre for the month of June, you should be fine, as it's a one-off initiative. For many people it's probably best to avoid Barnsley Town Centre altogether just in case - if you can bear to forgo the charms of 'Experience Barnsley' and The Mall.

The ban may spread
However, this could be just the beginning. If this is deemed a success, there could be a whole series of these bans in various places.

Swearing could be outlawed in football stadia for a month, beside pay-and-display parking meters which are rigged not to accept every second coin, and in notorious traffic blackspots. Unless we all learn to express ourselves in the manner of the parents of young children, through a series of half-uttered expletives and the odd heartfelt 'Darn' or 'Bother', this could be an expensive business.

Inspector Julie Mitchell, of South Yorkshire Police, said: "It is important to note that some people feel upset and intimidated from hearing swearing.Therefore, it has been agreed that those found to be swearing in the town centre will be dealt with appropriately, by either advice or enforcement." However, there are others who argue that swearing is a legitimate form of self-expression, and that provided it is uttered in an appropriate place and time, it's not going to do anyone any harm.

So what do you think? Will the citizens of Barnsley be able to cope, will we see a new form of civility on the streets, or will things prove decidedly expensive for those suffering minor setbacks in future? Let us know in the comments.

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