£7m Big Mac:
LTTE sympathizer who cost London a fortune in
policing was sneaking in fast-food
(By: Stephen Wright)
Expensive burger: 'Hunger striker'
Subramaniyan smuggled burgers in during his protest
He was the hunger striker at the centre of one of the
longest-running demonstrations ever mounted in Britain.
For weeks Parameswaran Subramaniyan lay in a tent
outside the Houses of Parliament as Tamils protested about the plight of
relatives under attack in Sri Lanka.
At one stage, his supporters claimed he was
The protest finally ended in June, but two revelations
put it back in the spotlight yesterday (Oct 08).
First, police said it had left them with a
Then it emerged that Mr Subramaniyan, 28, had eased
his ordeal by secretly eating McDonald's burgers.
Scotland Yard surveillance teams using specialist
monitoring equipment had watched in disbelief as he tucked into the
A police insider said: 'In view of the overtime bill,
this has got to be most expensive Big Mac ever.'
Scotland Yard made no official comment but senior
sources said police decided against dragging the bogus hunger striker
out of his tent for fear it would start a riot.
One source said: 'This was such a sensitive operation
that it was felt officers could inflame the situation if we brought the
hunger strike and demonstration to a premature end. This is a further
example of the complexities of policing London today.'
The Yard figures revealed that officers pocketed
nearly five times more overtime on the Tamil demonstration - which at
times brought Westminster traffic to a standstill - than they did for
the G20 summit of world leaders in the capital in early April.
The overtime bill for policing the Tamils was nearly
as much as the one for foiling the country's biggest-ever terrorist
plot, to blow up several trans-Atlantic flights in 2006, which added up
The police response to the 7/7 terrorist attacks in
London in 2005 resulted in overtime payments of
Yard insiders believe the huge amount of resources
diverted to the 72-day Tamil demonstrations contributed to a 9 per cent
increase in burglary across London in the past six months.
Details of the over-time bonanza were revealed in a
paper submitted to the Metropolitan Police Authority, which oversees the
running of Britain's biggest force.
Tim Hollis, a vice president of the Association of
Chief Police Officers, said in the MPA paper: 'Overtime figures reflect
the realities of modern policing, including its unpredictability. It
must be remembered that overtime generally reflects a cost effective and
flexible way of meeting additional demands.
'It must, however, be always carefully monitored,
calculated and authorised.'
The Metropolitan Police said in a statement: 'The
policing operation for the demonstration within Parliament Square also
catered for a number of associated events and protest sites.
Tamil takeaways: 'Hunger striker' Parameswaran
Subramaniyan, sitting outside the Houses of Parliament, secretly ate
Riotous: Police carry out their operation to clear
protesters who were blocking a nearby road Police mounted a 24-hour
presence in Parliament Square from April 6 to June 17.