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West Malling barber refusing to close on Thursday when second national lockdown begins

A barber from West Malling has taken to Facebook Live to tell customers he will not be closing his business on Thursday when the country goes into lockdown.

Met Warwick, 39, who runs King's Hill Barbers in Churchill Square, said he 'doesn't agree' with his business having to shut down, categorising barbers as essential.

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A barber in West Malling says he will be ignoring lockdown rules and remaining open from Thursday
A barber in West Malling says he will be ignoring lockdown rules and remaining open from Thursday

Speaking to KentOnline, he said: "My business will continue, simple as that. I don't agree with it, everything is a conflict of interest - kids go to school but they can't play football, plumbers can go into people's houses but I can't cut somebody's hair.

"I've got no problem at all with what people's beliefs are, what people want to stand for and if they want to abide by lockdown, but on the other flip of the coin it's none of their business what I do.

"I'll be staying open, I'm not interested in what the police have got to say, there's no law being broken, I'm not interested in what the council have got to say, I'm not interested in anybody actually - I'm just standing as a guy on my own and that's it."

When asked what he will do if he is handed fines for defying the lockdown rules, Mr Warwick said he will use the court system to fight against them.

He said: "I won't pay it, simple as that. We'll go as far up in courts because there's no crime being committed."

Met Warwick takes to Facebook to announce he will defy lockdown

Meanwhile a hair salon owner minutes away from Mr Warwick's business has struck out against his plan to defy the rules.

Lea Walters, owner of Stone Hairdressing in West Malling and Canterbury, said: "I am absolutely furious - we are a reputable company, we are following all government guidelines, we are Covid-safe, we are shutting our business again to much detriment to our business and the staff as well.

"I just saw this this morning and it's right around the corner from my salon.

"I've reported it to the police, I've contacted Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council, I've tried to do everything I can because I just want him shut down.

"It's not fair on all the businesses that are following the regulations and doing the right thing."

She added: "We're doing the right thing for the safety of the community and everyone and it's just really sad that some people feel they can break the rules and do their own thing."

Kings Hill Barbers has been running from the premises in Churchill Square for 10 weeks.

During the Facebook Live post uploaded this morning, Mr Warwick announced his decision to continue trading after Thursday.

In the video he said: "I do not agree or consent with my business being asked to be locked down.

"I decline the request, quite frankly."

Lea Walters said she is 'furious' at Mr Warwick's decision to ignore lockdown rules
Lea Walters said she is 'furious' at Mr Warwick's decision to ignore lockdown rules

Underneath the video posted by Mr Warwick is a comment from the page admin, supporting other businesses who also choose to ignore the rules.

The comment reads: "I'd also like to add that I will stand side by side with other barbers who take the same path as myself!

"I will support you & support any other business regardless of what they do."

A spokesman for Capital Space, which administers the business premises on Churchill Square, said: “At present our view is that our customer is currently operating within the law.

“If and when the law changes, to make trading as a barber illegal, our customer will not doubt reassess the situation.

“We will be keeping the situation under review.”

Read more: All the latest news from West Malling

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