The takeways owner who found himself at the centre of attention when he defied a ban of plastic bags by simply cutting off the handles managed to make himself a villain and hero in one snip.

With the right lawyer, he may have even got away with it, as the official advice was: "The ban applies to all new single-use plastic shopping bags with handles that are made of plastic up to 70 microns in thickness."

The ban is a 'symbolic' gesture and only a drop in the bucket for reduced pollution. That lends itself to suspicions we're being strong-armed into something a little ridiculous.

However, common sense - and quite likely the veiled threat of the Ministry for the Environment "looking into it" and a six-figure fine