'Basil Fawlty of books' is selling up

A shopkeeper dubbed the "Basil Fawlty of books" and whose rudeness sparked more than 20 complaints has announced he is selling up.

Steve Bloom, owner of Bloomindales high in the Yorkshire Dales, was branded "the bookseller from hell" by the chairman of Hawes Parish Council who mounted a campaign in January to get him to change his ways or be forced out.

Mr Bloom, 64, who famously charged browsers 50p and admitted calling a GP from Shropshire who was perusing the shelves "a pain in the arse", said it was his choice to sell up and the campaign to have him kicked out had failed.

He said there were a "number of factors" that made him decide to put a handwritten sign in the window saying "book shop for sale".

"I must have been feeling a bit low," he said.

Within days a buyer came forward and the sale is now going through.

He admitted one factor in the sale was the "aggravation" at the beginning of the year when he was in the headlines for his rudeness, leading him to admit at the time that he was "not really a people person".

He did not like visitors to Hawes pointing him out, saying: "That does happen and when I hear it, it aggravates me, it's like being gawped at."

Mr Bloom said the parish council, which applied pressure on the hall where his shop is based, tried to get him out following the complaints.

"They failed to get rid of me, they could not get rid of me, so I won," he said.

But he admitted by choosing to leave, he has given his opponents the "victory" they desired.

After 15 years in the shop, Mr Bloom said he will continue in the book trade, selling at fairs and online.

Coun John Blackie, chairman of Hawes and High Abbotside Parish Council, said there had been two recent complaints about Bloomindales from visitors to the market town, including a party of 15 who left and decided to spend their money in nearby Dent instead.

He said: "There has been no witch-hunt.

"The only event that might be described as the trappings of a victory will be the cheer as he leaves Hawes for the last time."

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