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I have posted this in it's entirety as it is too important to loose when the article is taken down.

 

This is a council that sends court threats out just two days after council tax payments are late.

 

Dozens of Plymouth businessmen were shocked to find bailiffs at their door yesterday.

 

 

 

But owners of businesses in Holly Court were even more surprised when they learned that the men were trying to enforce a debt run up by the city council, which had forgotten to pay the insurance premium on the units.

 

The light industrial units, on the Marsh Mills industrial estate, are leased by Plymouth City Council and sub-let to small businesses. The rent, paid in advance by the tenants, is supposed to cover building insurance.

 

But according to business owners, the bailiffs claimed it was their right to seize assets in the properties, even though the money was owed by Plymouth City Council.

 

Many reported that the two men walked into property without asking, were "pushy" and "arrogant", and one owner claimed they had embarrassed business owners in front of customers.

 

David McGregor, owner of Alfa Services electrical contractors, said he had had to return to his office from a job he was working on because the bailiffs had entered his warehouse when his daughter was working there alone and threatened to seize equipment.

 

His daughter Helen Hall, 28, said: "I felt they were very pushy. They didn't introduce themselves; they walked straight in.

 

"They said they had a court order, and not to lock the doors because if I did, they would break them down."

 

Patrick Walsh, owner of Precision Services, said: "They walked in at about 11 o'clock. They said 'we've come down from London to seize assets because of unpaid insurance on the properties'."

 

Mr Walsh said he told them that it was the council who should pay the insurance, but they replied that they had to seize the assets at the properties concerned.

 

Colin Lloyd, of Lloyds Refinishers, said he felt embarrassed as he was with a customer when the bailiffs approached him.

 

He added: "We are all up to date with our bills because the council would be down on us like a ton of bricks if not. But obviously they are not paying theirs."

 

A Plymouth City Council spokesperson said: "Due to administrative errors by the council following the change in freehold ownership in March, the insurance payment to the new landlord was not completed on time.

 

"The payment was made today when the bailiffs contacted the council after they had arrived on site."

 

She admitted that the council had received reminders of the bill, but had still failed to act.

 

The spokesperson added: "Everything possible will be done to make sure this unfortunate situation does not happen again. A full apology has been made to the tenants, who have been visited by council officers today, and the landlord."

 

But when contacted by The Herald later in the afternoon, Paul Lucas, owner of Plymouth Radiators, said that the council had only apologised on the phone.

 

He said the bailiffs had gone, but that when they arrived in the morning they had interrupted his conversation with a customer to "read the riot act."

 

"I thought he was joking. I felt they were so arrogant, I've never seen anything like it," he said.

 

The two bailiffs declined to speak to The Herald, and neither they nor the city council would provide contact details for the owners of Holly Court.

 

The level of the debt was not revealed but some business owners at Holly Court said the bailiffs had mentioned the figure of £18,000.

 

Due to the debt being settled by the council, the bailiffs did not take any items.

 

 

this is plymouth - news, entertainment, jobs, homes and cars

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I hope the businesses dont leave it there. x

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I hope they don't either Cit, I would sue for loss of business when the customers walked out (who says they didn't walk out).

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  • 4 weeks later...

thats a disgrace...

and i would say that they sould sue the council... but how often do ppl do that and win, oplenty of ppl try, but very little win....

 

i was one of them, and i lost... its not about the law anymore... its whou you know and always will be... :mad:

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