Alvin Wilkinson went to a ‘regeneration’ meeting at Hornsea, East Yorkshire, where he had to listen to the Tesco bloke claiming how much Tesco had done for the town. Things got rough as Alvin made persistent protest (about six empty shops near him that he blames Tesco for), but he got shouted down. There followed a ‘mark-my-words’ moment when he said to his wife: “You wait. There will be reprisals over this.”

And it came to pass that the Food Safety Officer for all of East Riding visited his Countdown store and told a female member of staff that the owner would need to raise his outdoor display of pre-packed fruit & veg three feet off the ground and would further need to cover it in polythene. (I’d like to see the same officer visiting Tesco and pointing out some ‘problem’ to staff if the manager were not around.)

Alvin took the point about the 3ft rule and the display is now even better. But he is questioning the polythene. Me too. I can’t find it in any rule book. I have three shops near me with come-hither outdoor displays; some pre-packed, some loose.

Same in Alvin’s area. To buy his fresh pre-packs he travels clear across Hull and it would appear that his is the only store requiring a plastic sheet “by law”. He pointed to a couple of others not far from him with similar displays but the food safety man said: “We only respond to complaints.”

Alvin needs to orchestrate a few complaints of his own. Big ‘cover up’ in Hornsea = less than level playing field. And yes, he has rung The Daily Mail.