A long-serving ice cream man has been given the cold shoulder after he was refused an application to sell cold treats on Richmond riverside.

Furious Laurence Vella, 57, faces being turfed off a spot where he has been selling treats for years, after Richmond Council put out a tender without telling him.

The father-of-two, who coined the name “Mr Vella the ice cream seller” for himself, is livid after he found out the council had advertised Buccleuch Gardens, near Petersham Road, as a place to sell cold treats, but when he contacted them the deadline for applications had passed.

Mr Vella, who has been selling ice cream in Richmond for more than 30 years, said the council should have contacted him about the tender because it knew he parked up his ice cream van there.

The Teddington man said: “This is victimisation pure and simple. How can this be fair? Where is their sense of fair play?

“I don’t know what else I'm going to do, I won't be able to pay my mortgage I’m going to have to sell my house. I’m finished.

“It is not right to treat somebody like this, they have victimised me for sure because they have it I'm for me.”

Mr Vella had previous run-ins with the council when he continued to trade on the site after his licence application failed.

He was convicted in 2011 of illegal trading and ordered to pay almost £4,000 by the courts.

A spokesman from Richmond Council said: “The council has advertised a new opportunity to sell ice cream in Buccleuch Gardens for the first time.

“This was advertised in the Richmond and Twickenham Times and on the council website, but the submission date has passed, and unfortunately this supplier did not submit an application and therefore could not be considered.”

Mr Vella has vowed to keep on fighting to sell ice cream in Richmond.