BUSINESSMAN Vernon Montgomery has been warned he could face prosecution if he continues to put illegal advertisements along the roadside.

Mr Montgomery, 47, who owns the 24 Hour Gym, in Hillmead Industrial Estate, has already paid a £200 fine after Swindon Council removed two banners and two A-frame posters from Mead Way yesterday.

The council has now warned the him that if he continues his “illegal ad campaign” he will face formal prosecution.

But Mr Montgomery said it was council hypocrisy which was leaving him out of pocket.

“It seems funny that the council seems free to advertise its own gyms outside the Oasis Leisure Centre but I can’t advertise mine outside my own gym,” he said.

“It is pure hypocrisy. There are plenty of businesses I see around the town with these types of posters up yet I see no one else being prosecuted.

“I feel I am being picked on.”

Mr Montgomery received a written notice on Friday warning him that he would face a fine unless he removed the signage. Yesterday morning council workers arrived at the site to dismantle and remove the four offending adverts.

Richard Palacio, the environmental enforcement manager for Swindon Council, said although the council is under no obligation to return the signs, it will on the condition that Mr Montgomery does not reinstate them.

“We have dealt with the owner of the 24 Hour Gym over the last 12 months in respect of issues of illegal advertisements,” said Mr Palacio.

“He has been made aware many times that this form of advertising is illegal. If he continues he will face prosecution.

“It is detrimental to the street scene of Swindon, in particular what we were dealing with was large banners left on railings obstructing the view of people crossing the road, and left there to become dirty and unkempt.”

Mr Palacio said that not only were the banners distracting to motorists, they were potentially fatal if cyclists or motorcyclists lost control of their vehicles.

“There has been a further element that he [Mr Montgomery] had put this scaffolding pole framework placed on the verge of the road next to the traffic and stretched his banner across it,” he said.

“That is not only distracting for people driving past but if one was to crash into it on their bicycle, or another vehicle, nothing good would come of it.”

Businesses unsure of the law regarding advertising banners can call the Highways Development Control office at Swindon Council for advice on 01793 445500.