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Please help. My bisuness went into an uexpected meltdown yesterday during a visit by a lone bailiff sent by Westminster council. The visit was in connection with a long running dispute about business rates charges which we felt had been settled. They are also demanding for the periods 2010-2011 before which time the branch of our business had closed down. They are aware of this as we notified them in writing ahead of time. Despite numerous requests made to both Capita (revenue collection agency) and Westminster, they simply continue to send the bailiff - Equita and now "Newlyn", who inturn continue to deemand conflicting figurse.

 

The lone baliff turned up at a branch of the company which is also a franchise owned by someone else. He forced his way in by violently pushing the female employee against the wall while he shouted exlentives and racist words at the employee. I arrived ta the scebe moments later only to find the other employee crying, visibly frightened. He disregarded my niceties and demanded to pay up cash and in full or he would have our goods removed. Despite my explanations, including the fact that the franchice is owned by someone else, that the the equipment he is tryng to remove belong to third parties, he simply shouted a torrent of insults at me.

 

I called in the landlord who also owns all the furnitures and some of the equipment. The landlord forced him into a retreat by thretrening to sue him and Westminster council if he removed any of his goods.

Meanwhile my partner is now going around to raise some money. The bailiff changed his mind again and demanded well over £9000.00 which we definitely did not owe. The landlord called in the police who could not do much. In fact the female police officer tried her best to assist the bailiff. The bailiff calked in the van and they began to remove our belongings. Hoewer there were three branded freezers which did not belong to us. Despite the owners speaking to him on the phone about their clearly branded Movenpic equipment supported by contarct that we signed confirming the third party as the owners, the bailiff simply instructed the removal people to put big tubs of ice creams from all the freezers on the floor. They took all the freezers away while the contents were left behind on the floor, melting away.

It was at this point that I realised that he wasn't keeping any inventory of the good he was removing. He got upset and shouted a few nasty words at me.

 

At the end of it all, the baliff took away more than he listed on the inventory, caused some damage to the landlord's furniture and the wood floor, left all our dairy products - ice creams lollies, frozen pastries & savouries, etc on the floor. The whole scene were witnessed by the landlord's agents who stood by to discourage him from touching their property.

 

Can someone please advise as the bailiff has effectively shut down our business, Westminster is not talking to us, Capita continue to apply different positions depending on who answers the pone when we call. Is there a legal recourse? How do we embark on this.

 

Your assistance will be greatly appreciated.

 

 

Shalom12

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What a terrible story, I really think you need to seek qualified professional advice as soon as possible, but also you must contact the council and report the conduct of this baliff immediately.

 

Your recourse is going to have to be through proper legal advice.


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First you need to stop calling Capita and get straight on to the council.

 

You need to contact the CEO of Westminster Council with a formal complaint.

 

If they have taken items that do not belong to you then you need the council to be made aware of this.

 

There will be others along shortly to give more help. But get a complaint in asap.

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This one is similar to the case in Bridlington where bailiffs gutted a restaurant, for a non debt, as the debt belonged to a previous occupier, definitely legal advice, and a Formal Complaint, listing the value of the spoiled stock.


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The bailiff: A 12th Century solution re-branded as Enforcement Agents for the 21st Century to seize and sell debtors goods as before Oh so Dickensian!

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Keep a careful tally of all consequential and direct losses, including lost revenue, caused by the unlawful actions of the bailiff. So also get statements from those that witnessed the events while their memories are still fresh. Tonight or tomorrow. I believe you may end up suing. No CCTV in the premises ?

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Local MP may be of some use here, I would also have a word with the media.

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But neither will provide remedy.

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But neither will provide remedy.

 

Unfortunately nothing will for quite a while, but the more people involved the more of a chance the OP will have in getting this dealt with.

 

MP's can get things moving with regards to complaints, thats if you have one who knows what they are doing. The media can bring some light into the situation and show the OP is not going to lay down and let the bailiff get away with this.

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I am so sorry to hear of the problem that you encountered.

 

I am a bit confused...firstly, could you confirm which company enforced this debt. You have said that it was a "lone bailiff". Have you checked as to whether this person was certificated?

 

What was the precise amount of the Liability Order?

 

If the amount of the debt is dispute and if so, have you addressed this in writing with Westminster?

 

You say that the bailiff had not correctly itemised goods that were removed? Did you have CCTV cameras or were you able to take pictures from a mobile etc?

 

What fees have been charged by the bailiff and can you post full details on the forum.

 

Is the Liability Order against a Limited Company ?

 

What must now be done is that the "third party" owners needs to send a Third Party Claim to Westminster in the morning. The council are wholly responsible for the levy and fees charged by their AGENTS.

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Thank you so much tomtubby for your advise. It was newlyn who enforced it. He had tow pieces of cards bearing his photographs which he did not show untill I demamnded to see it. He noted ££7678.40 as original liability, and £1477.92 as his charges. The original debt is in dispute as the company had already vacated the premises during the year 2010-11 rates period. Besides the company also qualified for the interim moratorium on business rates for the year. All of these had been address to the council only to be forwarded to Capita people to deal with. We have since found that he managed to disable to the dated cctv on site. However, pictures were taken with mobile devices.

The liabilty Order is against a limited company.

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A shocking story.

 

What is the evidence that he disabled the CCTV?

 

Could you let us have sight of the photos, please. Could you send them by email to our admin address? I cold probably get some media interest in this.

 

Thanks


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This is absolutely shocking, and is further evidence that distress is finished as a reasonable method of collecting debt. If any of the bailiffs actions are found to be unlawful, perhaps charges of criminal damage regasrding the spoiled stock should be pursued by the inept police, as a recognition of the wrongful action of their officer supporting the bailiff/

 

Certainly Op should forward images to site team, how did bailiff tamper with and disable site CCTV? As the account is in dispute Formal Complaint to CEO Westminster Council, Leader and MP but these muppets are targets of the Nutsville comaign website where their other shenanigans are exposed. Likely OP has not dealt with council in the past and the whole thing is down to the involvement of Capita in the council heirarchy.


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Thank you all for these encouraging postings. GLA - the landlord of the franchise unit is now considering what action to take against the bailiff for damages he caused to their building during the removal. Also two of the owners of the equipments he stole have alerted their lawyers to go after the bailifff given that he was shown proof of ownership just as one of the owners spoke to him on the phone prior to removal.

 

Thank you.

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Thank you all for these encouraging postings. GLA - the landlord of the franchise unit is now considering what action to take against the bailiff for damages he caused to their building during the removal. Also two of the owners of the equipments he stole have alerted their lawyers to go after the bailifff given that he was shown proof of ownership just as one of the owners spoke to him on the phone prior to removal.

 

Thank you.

 

The third party owners should contact police to report the theft, and complain that the attending officer actively supported the bailiff and the criminal removal/theft of property, and tell them that the police could well be sued along with the bailiff company jointly and severally with the council, if they say it is civil, as bailiff seized third party goods, was supplied with proof but still took goods, so was ultra vires his authority, therefor removal was theft, might stir them into action, then again, Common Purpose and all that....


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The bailiff: A 12th Century solution re-branded as Enforcement Agents for the 21st Century to seize and sell debtors goods as before Oh so Dickensian!

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Shalom,

 

I am very shocked indeed at the fees being charged. The main bailiff company that enforce debts for Westminster Council are Equita but Newlyn are a "reserve" bailiff provider.

 

Bailiffs routinely state that they can "assume" that all goods on the premises are owned by the debtor company and they will always rely upon the legal case of Observer Newspapers) v Gordon's Pianos. Frankly, the constant reliance upon this particular case by the bailiff industry has run it's course.

 

As mentioned yesterday, it is normally a simple case of sending a Third Party Claim letter to the LOCAL AUTHORITY in order to secure the goods.

 

The CORRECT legal term is referred to as an "Interpleader Claim" and in which case, I would strongly suggest that anyone taking LEGAL action should carefully consider the Appeal Court case of HUNTRESS SEARCH v CANAPEAUM ( spelling probably incorrect and will correct later). Briefly, in this case an enforcement officer representing SHERGROUP LTD attended the wrong premises to enforce a writ and in doing so, damaged goods that did not belong to the company who owed the debt.

 

The Judgement is highly critical of officers from SHERGROUP and crucially, the Judge confirms that the enforcement officer failed to read documents which confirmed ownership of goods and failed to listen to the companies solicitor or accountant. The owner of SHERGROUP was found liable.

 

The full Appeal Court judgment is available from a Google search . Any problems...please post back.

 

PS: You MUST ensure that anyone making a Third Party Claim regarding council tax or NNDR should make any such claim against the LOCAL AUTHORITY ( in this cases, Westminster Council).

 

PS: I think that Nutsville would certainly be interested in this thread

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The DSI case is a must in any case against Westminster and Newlyn, also Capita must share blame, as Op no doubt was being "handled" by Capita as the councils admin provider, another illustration of the Capquita stitch up, where Capita is judge jury and enforcer, except they used the back up Newlyn rather than Equita in this case.

 

I agree Observer v Gordon is now way past it's sell by date, as the remit it gives is too wide.

 

Yes TT definitely one for Nutsville, who are like a pitbull as far as Westminster muppetry is concerned


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The following is from a google search and is posted on a solicitors web page:

 

A judgment creditor may enforce its judgment by seizing and selling at auction a debtor’s goods. In the High Court, a judgment creditor applies to an enforcement officer (formerly called a sheriff) to attend at the debtor’s premises to seize goods. In the county court a bailiff is instructed.

 

Proceedings were brought by DSI Foods Limited (DSI) against the enforcement officer who had attended at their premises. DSI were not the judgment debtor, but the enforcement officer had refused to read documents offered by DSI. The financial controller of DSI had only been able to bring the execution to an end by permitting a payment to be made against his personal debit card. The enforcement officer applied for an order restraining these proceedings, but the Master refused to grant the enforcement officer the relief claimed. The enforcement officer appealed.

 

As the court noted, there is relatively little authority giving guidance as to when relief should be granted. Previous case law acknowledged that a sheriff is entitled to protection where the claimant had not suffered a real and substantial grievance. So the question was, whether in the light of the limited case law available, had DSI incurred a real and substantial grievance?

 

On the facts of this case, the court held that the Master was entitled to conclude that DSI had suffered a real and substantial grievance in respect of the attitude and conduct of the enforcement officers. The enforcement officers refused to consider any of the oral and documentary evidence that they were not the judgment debtors, that the premises did not belong to the judgment debtor and that there were no assets belonging to the judgment debtor on the premises. DSI also suffered financial loss as a result of the interruption to business and the need to destroy food which was being processed at the material time and which had become contaminated as a result of the enforcement officer’s attendance at the premises.

 

In addition, as the enforcement officers attended at an address which was not on the appropriate form, a question arose as to whether the enforcement officer only had authority to carry out execution at that address. The court held that the duty of enforcement was to be defined in terms of a specific address or addresses rather than by reference merely to a wide geographical jurisdiction although it was not determinative of the appeal itself.

 

This case is of note as there has been very case law on the ability of an enforcement officer to apply for relief. This case confirms that a court will explore whether a claimant has suffered a real and substantial grievance when considering relief. In addition, as a practical point, judgment creditors should make clear which address or addresses the enforcement officer is to attend rather than relying on an enforcement officer’s general jurisdiction for the area so as to avoid any confusion.

 

Huntress Search Limited (Claimant) v Canapeum Limited (Defendant) and DSI Foods Limited (Interpleader Claimant) [2010] EWHC 1270

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It may help if you can pass the information given in here on to the third parties who are taking action, it may help them with their cases for prosecution.

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Seanamarts.

 

Sorry....my error. I posted so much info in order for Shalom to pass the link to the Third Parties. I just forgot to mention it!!! Well done

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No probs TT. :thumb:

 

I sort of guessed you done it for that reason ;)

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If it gives the op any comfort, I experienced a visit to my business premises by a HCEO for a debt that was not mine, he was offered evidence to that being the case but refused to accept it, fortunately I was positioned to be able to pay the debt and his obscene fees so I was able to prevent any removal of my goods. After paying I had the original CCJ set aside and then went to Interpleader which ended in every penny the HCEO had taken being returned along with all legal costs and my personal costs to having to travel to the RCJ for the Interpleader hearing.

 

If the op can raise the amount owed (including all fees) and pay the bailiff, I would suggest they do so. If the debt is not theirs they should firstly make 3rd party claims to the goods removed and it is very important they do that immediately to prevent the sale at auction, next apply to set aside the judgment by default and raise an appeal to the ownership of the goods removed and seek recompense to the damage caused to the property and losses incurred.

 

WD

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You sound like the guy in the Huntress Canapeum case who had to get out his credit card after an HCEO entered a food processing factory without protective gear and comtaminated the entire food stock.

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if it gives the op any comfort, i experienced a visit to my business premises by a hceo for a debt that was not mine, he was offered evidence to that being the case but refused to accept it, fortunately i was positioned to be able to pay the debt and his obscene fees so i was able to prevent any removal of my goods. After paying i had the original ccj set aside and then went to interpleader which ended in every penny the hceo had taken being returned along with all legal costs and my personal costs to having to travel to the rcj for the interpleader hearing.

 

If the op can raise the amount owed (including all fees) and pay the bailiff, i would suggest they do so. If the debt is not theirs they should firstly make 3rd party claims to the goods removed and it is very important they do that immediately to prevent the sale at auction, next apply to set aside the judgment by default and raise an appeal to the ownership of the goods removed and seek recompense to the damage caused to the property and losses incurred.

 

Wd

 

 

good advice!!


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