'Metric martyr' fruit trader dies aged 39

A FRUIT and vegetable trader who fought a three-year legal battle after being prosecuted for selling in pounds and ounces has died at his home from a suspected heart attack. He was 39.

Steven Thoburn, the trader dubbed a "metric martyr" because of his stance on imperial weights and measures, is understood to have collapsed and died without warning at his Sunderland home yesterday.

He leaves a wife Leigh, 30, and three children Rhys, 13, Georgia, seven, and Jay, two.

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Mr Thoburn of Roker, Sunderland, was prosecuted by the Sunderland City Council on charges of breaching the Weights and Measures Act after selling bananas by the pound.

His imperial scales were confiscated and he was given a six-month conditional discharge in 2001.

Mr Thoburn, who won nationwide support, took his case to the High Court and the House of Lords, but could not get the conviction overturned.