On Friday I was extremely concerned about a thread on one of the ‘Beat the Bailiffs’ facebook sites that eventually led to the debtor being removed from his car and with many police in attendance.
The debtor (Tony) did not seek advice on the site. Instead, his brother Paul sought advice from the Social Media Site on his behalf.
It would seem that ‘Tony’ had not paid a penalty charge notice and accordingly, a warrant of control was issued and passed to Marston Group to enforce. The bailiff attended the property early last Friday and after a short period of time, clamped his car.
In ‘Paul’s’ initial post he called for ‘Boots on the Ground’ to attend the address (in Oldham, Lancashire). As is usual with the site, the full address and postcode were provided.
One poster (John) spoke with Tony a number of times and reported back that he had advised him that:
The warrant was not a legal document as it was not signed.
Tony should stay in the car as his vehicle could not be removed while he is inside.
He should tell the bailiffs and police that "Wesley is just getting ready with a crew". (Wesley posted himself to confirm that he would be attending).
Further alarming posts were made that indicated that the bailiffs would be attacked (for example: “law doesn’t matter, lets all go out and lynch the fxxxing bailiffs”).
The situation esclated very quickly indeed and from reading the posts the indication was that many people were on their way to the address (in Oldham) with Wesley himself posting that ‘we have a Mexican standoff’. Further posts reported that about six police officer had arrived together with more bailiffs.
In all, almost 400 posts were made on the site and yet....not one person bothered to ask any background information such as:
Did he receive all the notices from the local authority?
Did he appeal the penalty charge notice?
Did he receive the Notice of Enforcement from Marston Group?
Did he respond to outline a payment proposal?
Instead, as is always the case with these sites, the suggestion made was to ....submit an Out of Time statutory declaration to the Traffic Enforcement Centre.
One person exhibited a copy of the warrant of control and it was plain to see that the warrant was a legal document. Naturally, it did not require a court seal or a 'wet ink signature'.
Telephone calls were made to the bailiff by an admin member of the Social Media Site (a lady with supposedly 30 years of legal experience) asking that the vehicle remain clamped until the Out of Time statutory declaration had been processed. Naturally, with the expectation of many more ‘supporters’ shortly arriving, the enforcement agent took the decision to remove the vehicle (by this time it had been clamped for over two hours). A tow truck was in attendance.
The debtor was removed from the vehicle.
Fortunately, for the bailiffs, the police and the debtor the 'Boots on the Ground' stunt was a complete failure.