Police say threats will not be tolerated against a city centre street performer – who they can confirm did serve with the British Armed Forces.

Wearing an army uniform, Paul Judson can regularly be seen at the bottom of Northgate Street near The Cross or outside the Old Queens Head on Foregate Street with his sand sculpture creations.

An online petition questioning Mr Judson’s status as an ex-serviceman has amassed more than 1,400 signatures.

Armed forces background confirmed

But Chester city centre sergeant Andy Smith says the force has conducted its own enquiries and found that Mr Judson is indeed a former serviceman.

Sgt Smith explained that the police work in partnership with Cheshire West and Chester Council concerning the latter’s Code of Conduct for Street Entertainers.

“In the code of conduct, Paul makes these sand sculptures so he is performing a kind of entertainment,” he said.

“On the occasions that we have talked with him, he has not been begging.”

Sgt Smith said Mr Judson has been the subject of ‘a number’ of threats and negative comments on social media sites – which are being investigated – and has even had water thrown at him.

He added: “Threats and violence against Paul will not be tolerated.

“Chester police take positive action with all reports of anti-social behaviour in the city centre.

“Additionally, we do all we can to support those who are vulnerable in our communities.

“We would remind users of social media that comments made in open forums can constitute criminal offences.”