A family picnicking in the Bristol Downs were forced to end their outing after council officers told them their windbreak was breaking the law. Apparently the windbreak counted as a ‘semi-permanent’ structure – something that’s not allowed to be erected there.

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“One of the officers asked who had erected the ‘semi- permanent structure’. I said, ‘Are you talking about the windbreak?’” dad Jon Hacker told reporters.

“He said that windbreaks weren't allowed due to the by-laws on the Downs. One of them gave me a leaflet about the by-laws and it said you weren't allowed to put up tents or a gazebo, but it didn't say anything about a windbreak.

“My family and I were shocked to be informed that we were breaking the law. I think they were being very strict.”

Regardless, dad Jon agreed and took the windbreaker down, only for the wind to ruin the picnic he, mum Claire and daughters Emily and Sophie were having. “We took the windbreak down and it was so windy our paper plates and serviettes were blowing everywhere.

“We didn't want to leave a mess as that would be breaking the law as well, so we packed up and drove home and ended up finishing our picnic in our garden.”

Bristol City Council have since admitted that they made a mistake on this occasion, “We apologise to the gentleman and his family. Clearly there needs to be discretion when enforcing the by-laws of the Downs.

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“They are designed to prevent tents and gazebos being put up on the Downs, but there should be flexibility to allow families to use windbreaks - we shall instruct our enforcement officers and rangers on this basis.”

This is not the first case of rules getting in the way of family and childhood fun - parents in Watford were banned from going into children’s play areas and kids in Chester weren't allowed to eat birthday cake.

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What are the weirdest rules you’ve come across?

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