Steve Thoburn, the UK greengrocer who became known as the Metric Martyr when he refused to stop selling his produce only in imperial measures, has died suddenly aged 39.

Thoburn was convicted in 2001, and he joined up with several traders to appeal against his conviction through various courts and up to the House of Lords and eventually, the European Union Court of Human Rights.

European Union rules that were adopted by the UK parliament allow fruit and vegetables to be labelled in both metric and imperial measures, but require that the produce be sold in grams and kilograms only. Thoburn’s scales were famously confiscated by an inspector who caught him selling bananas by the pound instead of the kilogram.