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    • Hello today I mistakenly went through a no entry sign on Silverlink Retail Park by Pizza Hut/Five Guys, there was no near miss and no other vehicles were affected. Unlucky for me I was spoken to by an off duty police officer who showed me his ID, he said he was going to report me for it and was a bit shirty! I said to him it’s private land and I didn’t realise. He didn’t take my name and he didnt ask for it, he was with his wife and young child at the time. IMG_0228.pdfHe took photos of my car and tried to take a picture of me, I covered my face. I took a picture of the sign as you enter the estate and it clearly says the roads within the retail park are not part of the public highway. Anyone think anything will come of it?   IMG_0228.pdf
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      On 15/1/24 booked appointment with Big Motoring World (BMW) to view a mini on 17/1/24 at 8pm at their Enfield dealership.  

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    • We have finally managed to obtain the transcript of this case.

      The judge's reasoning is very useful and will certainly be helpful in any other cases relating to third-party rights where the customer has contracted with the courier company by using a broker.
      This is generally speaking the problem with using PackLink who are domiciled in Spain and very conveniently out of reach of the British justice system.

      Frankly I don't think that is any accident.

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      This is good ethical practice.

      It would be very nice if the parcel delivery companies – including EVRi – practised this kind of thing as well.


      OT APPROVED, 365MC637, FAROOQ, EVRi, 12.07.23 (BRENT) - J v4.pdf
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Retail Loss Prevention in Parliament - Hansard

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Denis MacShane



4.45 pm


Mr MacShane: I have a modest experience of such matters. I wrote a book many years ago, which was quite profitable—the only one that was not remaindered and did make some money—in which I referred to the Institute of Journalists in derogatory terms. I was shocked to find that as a body corporate it could sue me. Because my publisher was a left-wing publisher, it immediately surrendered and I lost all the profit. [ Interruption. ]A long time ago, yes—a left-wing publisher.

I am concerned that as the Bill progresses, we have an extraordinarily egregious example of exactly the points that the shadow Minister, my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent South, covers in his new clause, and that is the news that the law firm Schillings is showering defamation writs on the citizens advice bureau—one of the most prestigious and respected of all the voluntary organisations that we all have relationships with—as well as the law firm Bates Wells and Braithwaite, the Justice Gap website and the consumer websites Legal seagulls and Consumer Action Group.


Why is Schillings doing that? It is because there is an extremely unpleasant practice now taking place in our retail industry—developed, I am sad to say, under a Labour Government—called civil recovery. In essence, 90% of all shoplifting in our stores is organised by gangs. About 8% or 9% is done by in-house stealing. The tiny 1% is done—frankly, for the most part—by rather sad people. I am not condoning shoplifting; none of us would. Quite a lot of people who walk out of Tesco or Boots have not put in the correct barcode. We have all had that problem now since we have had to, as it were, do our own till accounting. Then the people are pulled back into the shop, taken into a little room and told that they could face prosecution, but Tesco, TK Maxx, Boots or Primark will not prosecute. Instead they will ask for names and addresses and a few weeks later a company in Nottingham called Retail Loss Prevention, which is owned by one person—Mrs Jackie


Column number: 193

Lambert—sends a threatening letter to the person saying that unless they immediately pay £150 or £180, they may face prosecution. Most of the people are children or adolescents, often from families without much structure. They are terrified out of their wits. Retail Loss Prevention—this Jackie Lambert person—says that this practice has been approved by the Association of Police Chief Officers and is thoroughly legal. It is not. It is a threat to obtain money, because the point of detention is not to go forward and hand the shoplifter—if that is the case, and we are not condoning it—over to the police for prosecution. There have been 750,000—


The Chair: Order. Can you explain how your speech fits with the question of defamation?


Mr MacShane: Quite. This is exactly the core of the point. This is a £15 million racket used by a lot of major companies—corporate groups—such as Boots, TK Maxx, Primark, Debenhams, Superdrug and Tesco. They are all shops that we use. These bodies corporate are going to another body corporate called Retail Loss Prevention and getting it to obtain money from very vulnerable people. When the CAB, also a body corporate, seeks to take up the cases, it then faces defamation writs from Schillings. I am sorry if any member of the Committee does not see the seriousness of the matter and why we should stand with the vulnerable people in our society rather than the Nottingham company and its use of Schillings to put pressure on the CAB.


David Morris (Morecambe and Lunesdale) (Con): The whole point of scrutinising the Bill is to find out where we can improve it instead of going over old turf.


Mr MacShane: I would certainly welcome that, but until Government Members understand exactly what is going on, they will continue to support the Government’s rejection of the new clause tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent South. We have a Standing Committee in order to go into the problems of the case in much greater detail than is allowed on Second Reading.


Here we have an example, before our very eyes, at this very time, of Schillings acting on behalf of one body corporate and companies that hide behind the Nottinghamshire-based company and Mrs Lambert. They seek to extract an estimated total of £15 million from poor and vulnerable people.

I am sorry that the right hon. Member for Bermondsey and Old Southwark is not present—he is obviously busy—but he has raised that point in an Adjournment debate in Westminster Hall. I know that the right hon. Member for Carshalton and Wallington is also aware of that case, so this is not a point of view from just the Labour side of the Committee.


As the company now realises that the CAB and other organisations are defending weak and vulnerable people, they have initiated one or two court cases for shoplifting, only to find that they are being thrown out by the High Court.


Anna Soubry (Broxtowe) (Con): It is theft.


Column number: 194


Mr MacShane: The hon. Lady says from a sedentary position that it is theft. If it is theft, the store has an obligation to call the police, have the person arrested, provide the evidence and prosecute the person. They are not doing that, but sending people home and seeking to extract money from them later on.


Robert Flello: Despite the interjections of the hon. Member for Broxtowe, I am following what my hon. Friend is saying. The situation, as I understand from what he was saying—I would like his clarification on this—is exactly was I was talking about when moving new clause 4. Companies throw their weight around and are quite happy to reach for letters to threaten all sorts of things, whether or not they can do it. What he is talking about is symptomatic of a problem with corporations, which, even if the law is not on their side, they will make up as they go along.


Mr MacShane: It is no accident that the practice, which is quite widespread in America, was unknown in Britain until 1998. It started with the arrival en masse in our high streets of TK Maxx and Superdrug, two American companies. One should congratulate Mrs Lambert in Nottingham for having realised what a wonderful little earner that is.


I have no problem with making any shoplifter or anyone who steals anything face the legal consequences. What is wrong, in my judgment, is for Schillings to be suing the CAB—my goodness! I think all hon. Members will accept that in every one of our constituencies, the CAB is having to shed staff and operate on a reduced basis due to financial constraints. To make it undertake the responsibility of defending a worrying set of defamation writs from Schillings, acting on behalf of the Retail Loss Prevention company and some of the most powerful corporations in our land, is a grotesquely unfair and improper abuse of existing defamation law.


That is why I hope hon. Members on both sides of the Committee will accept the new clause tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for Stoke-on-Trent South. It would not stop the bullying in toto, but it would at least send a much clearer signal to big companies such as TK Maxx, Tesco, Primark, Superdrug and Boots, and to Retail Loss Prevention that their little game is over. If they find someone who has committed a valid shoplifting crime, they should call the police and bring the people before the courts. They should not use that underhanded way to achieve their aims and use Schillings, a defamation lawyer, to put pressure on the great and good organisation that is the CAB to stop it raising the issue in public.


Tom Brake: Is the right hon. Gentleman as concerned as I am about the following aspect of the letter? It is the suggestion that the company has encountered substantial financial losses as a result of a small number of postings on a website that I think is relatively obscure.


Mr MacShane: Once again, we have the bullying side of defamation writs. CAB is probably the best known of those threatened by Schillings. On the whole, it is big enough, old enough and reasonably resourced enough to look after itself. We have, thank goodness, lots of wonderful little consumer groups producing websites,


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Simon Hughes




Simon Hughes (Bermondsey and Old Southwark) (LD): I apologise because I had to go out during some of the debate, but I was here at the beginning.

The Chair: I understand, Mr Hughes.

Simon Hughes: I rise to speak on the issue that lies behind the new clause. I have initiated Adjournment debates in the House on Retail Loss Prevention, and have worked with colleagues in the Lords on the matter, and I have had several meetings about it over the years with Richard Dunstan of Citizens Advice.

I remain concerned that power is abused by large retail outlets, which use a regular set of solicitors to protect their interest. They pursue normally young and often vulnerable people for small amounts of money, and lead them to believe that other consequences will flow if they do not pay, even though that is not true under the law. Effectively, retail outlets often get large sums from such individuals. If, for example, someone has left a store with a comb or a tube of toothpaste, they are told that unless they pay considerably more than the value of the property—£100 or sometimes £1,000, which accumulates very quickly—they will be guilty under criminal law.

Of course, retailers have to protect stores and the goods in them; I understand that. It is perfectly reasonable for stores to have security people, as long as they act reasonably. There is a real issue here, however, and there is a social malaise in how such companies pursue their interests. Some quite reputable companies are involved, as well as some disreputable ones.

It is clear from correspondence that Schillings, which has written about the case, is trying to represent Mr Dunstan as someone who is on a frolic of his own, pursuing something disreputably, obsessively and almost paranoically. He has been doing a job for a highly reputable organisation, Citizens Advice, with which I have worked over the years and on behalf of which I once sponsored somebody to work with me here. We all know from experience in our constituencies that Citizens Advice has at heart only the best interests of those who come through its doors. I simply want to ask how we stop the big boys and girls attacking the little boys and girls with the back-up of lawyers, who intimidate them and misrepresent the legal position.

In answer to the hon. Member for Bishop Auckland’s challenge to my right hon. Friend the Member for Carshalton and Wallington and me, I am not persuaded that the new clause is the right way to deal with the

Column number: 199

problem, although I understand absolutely that we must do something. I would be interested to hear what the Minister says. I am aware of previous debates on the issue in consideration of the draft Bill, but I certainly do not think the right solution is to make companies go through a separate doorway and an entirely different process that does not apply to individuals. I am keeping an open mind about that. Mr MacShane: Is it not a fact that, as we speak, across the range of civil laws and torts, companies may be in front of judges, asking for urgent applications, injunctions or hearings? In the hypothetical case of a company that was about to be taken over when something grossly defamatory was said, clearly the company would go to a judge, who would instantly acquiesce to the necessary action being taken. The new clause does not prevent that, but it says to Tesco, Superdrug, TK Maxx and Mrs Lambert that they should not seek to silence genuine concerns about what they are up to by using defamation threats and Schillings.


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