I will start at the very beginning.
Back in August 2002 we took over a pub on a tenancy at will basis from a well known pub company.
We stayed there until February 2003, but due to being robbed twice and having £14k taken from us, we fell into arrears with the Pub company.
They then walked in one morning with bailliffs and took everything we had.
Money in the tills, stock, everything.
Because they weren't allowed to make us homeless they let us stay in the private quarters for a week or two until the council could house us.
During that two week period a bailliff turned up at the door saying we owed £7k+ in non domestic rates.
He came into the pub, and we explained what had happened.
Being fair he was really sympathetic and said he wasn't going to pursue us for the money as it was obvious to him that we didn't have it.
He did however take a list of items down on a piece of paper ( none of which was ours ) and got us to sign a piece of paper.
He then went on his merry way, and thats the last we've seen or heard about it.
Because we worked in the pub trade we've moved address quite a bit, but never hidden where we are.
We've always been on the electoral roll, and taken out credit agreements whereever we've lived.
Not once have they ever ( to my knowledge ) made any effort to contact me till
about 12 weeks ago I got a letter from Liverpool County Council telling me they'd referred it to a firm of baillifs
and if I didn't pay them the full amount they'd instruct the Baillif to attend and remove goods.
I am not going to lie.
I just did what I know I shouldn't have done.
I panicked and ignored it.
In the stupid belief it would go away.
Last week we received a letter from Equita Baillifs saying that unless they received the full amount in cleared funds,
they would attend the property and remove goods.
To be frank, the goods we've got would most probably reach about £1000 in an auction.
The only thing of value is a TV set bought for us by my parents, worth about £400 brand new.
Other than that we have nothing. No car, no valuable items, and lots of junk that being honest no one would want to pay for anyway.
As if things couldn't get worse,
I then got a letter from Rossendales Baillifs saying that we had a liability order for a property that we rented from a local housing group, but actually only lived in for about 3 months.
They are claiming there are 3 outstanding court liability orders.
We've been over this time and time again with the council and we dispute the amount because for one of the periods they are claiming for we didn't even live at the address.
We'd moved out 8 months before and we've even provided them with council tax bills from the address after that to prove where we were living.
Rossendales are now demaning £1700 in full else they too will turn up at the house.
I am completely at my wits end, and spending every waking hour looking out the window, scared witless that they are going to turn up at any moment.
I don't know what to do, who to contact. I can't go to family to borrow any money because firstly, they wouldn't have it, and secondly, I've absolutely no means of ever repaying it.
The family income is about £330 per week, and from that we've got to pay
£20 council tax,
£30 in gas and electric,
£10 water rates,
£3 TV license
£40 travel costs so I can get to and from work
£9 school dinner money for my son.
£70 per week we owe in other debts that we are repaying
As you can see, we simply don't have anything spare. In fact we're getting deeper and deeper into a mess as each day goes past.
They can turn up and take everything we have, but ultimately by the time the bailiffs have added their fees on,
and the auction costs are added, they won't actually clear much off the smallest debt, let alone the £7800 that Equita are demanding.
I am well aware of the stupid charges Bailliffs add onto bills, so its not unrealistic to expect to have to find £10k in the next week or so, and we simply don't have it.
They will never accept the kind of amounts we can afford to repay each week.
At very best we could manouvere the bills about a bit and pay them £20 a week, but even that is going to be one hell of a struggle.
There is no way on gods earth they will accept a 10 year repayment plan, but putting it blunt, thats all we can manage at the moment.
My wifes had to give up her job recently through ill health, which has made matters worse. Had she been working we could maybe have afforded it.
Finally to top it off, the local council have written to us saying that because we haven't paid one weeks council tax for this year
( we paid one, then skipped a week ) they are taking us to court and theres going to be another liability order
added which means more fees, more bailliffs, more costs, and more stress.
I just really don't know what the hell to do....
I should hasten to add,
I rang Liverpool council last week regarding the outstanding debt for Non Domestic rates,
and they've said I should email them telling them the circumstances behind it all, and they will look at it.
However they cannot call the debt back from the Baillifs.
I tried explaining that if the Bailiffs turn up we cannot afford to pay, to which she kindly replied "I wouldn't worry.
They won't take anything because unless they can clear off the debts then they won't bother" then a second later said "but I never told you that"
How true this is I don't know.
I said we would pay the money, but I had no idea of how I would do it.
She was quite kind and just told us to put everything in writing.
Thats all well and good, but what do I do if the Baillifs turn up.
They won't be so sympathetic, and them adding on a few hundred more only makes the matter worse.