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Tuesday, 25 January 2011

24th Jan, 2011: Update on UNLAWFUL TRAVELLER EVICTION

15th Jan 15.27hrs

Today at 14.39, Bryan Lecoche of Constant Bailiffs called me and asked what am I doing to remove my vehicles from the “pound” where they have been taken, a journey of around 10 miles from where they were taken in  Wandsworth. I explained that as per my email to Chris Johnson earlier today, I cannot remove the vehicles, and the only person I know who has a traders policy is not free until next week

Mr Lecoche expressed that he was “getting a bit fed up with me”, I eplained that he was not anywhere near as fed up as I am with his company, their having unlawfully removed my home and all tools and equipment.
Mr Lecoche said that the eviction was not unlawful, and having had over 10 years and probably thousands of similar cases to deal with he thought he knew more about Common Law evictions than I do.
I explained that I have been campaigning for over thirty years on Common Law and the environment, and I further explained to him the difference between the powers under Common Law to evict (a) where the entry was violent (no need to ask before using reasonable force, and (b) where, as in this case, no violence was used to gain entry, there is a lawful necessity to take reasonable steps to  ASK FIRST before using reasonable force.


Mr Lecoche asked for assurance that my friend is genuine in his offer to move my vehicles, including a request for his phone number, which I refused without first asking my friend if he minds Mr Lecoche [an employee of Constant & Co, who have a very dubious reputation when dealing with travellers - my friend is a traveller], having his number. Mr Lecoche seemed annoyed at my refusal to give him my friend’s number without asking first, a simple courtesy which I would extend to any friend whose number even another friend of mine wanted. If that friend were annoyed at this courtesy, I would refuse even to ask.

I am minded to withdraw any offer or agreement to move my vehicles from the yard where they have been unlawfully removed to, which will incur me a considerable inconvenience and expense in returning the favour my friend has offered, and, as per my email to Chris Johnson on 17/01/2011 01:53, to insist that Constant & Co return them to the yard in Nine Elms Lane from where they were unlawfully removed.



20th Jan, 16.00

I have just spoken to the Station Officer at Brixton Police Station, who informs me that the issue has been transferred to Inspector Roach of Wandsworth, who will delegate it to a detective to investigate in due course. I have been made aware that a crime having been reported and allocated a crime number, Constant & Co, Thames Water etc cannot destroy my property until it has been investigated.



Thursday, 13 January 2011

Update on UNLAWFUL TRAVELLER EVICTION

Today, late in the morning I left the site at 52 Nine Elms Lane to go to Hackney where I was to visit a friend for an hour or so, but ended staying for several hours receiving valuable counseling on how to deal with the bailiffs prospective visit on the 14th Jan, in a reasonable, prudent, well-intentioned and peaceful manner even though I had had many of my possessions damaged and tools burgled by Constant & Co, the bailiffs, on the 23rd  Dec 2010.
The bailiffs were to arrive as per our verbal contract (made on the 30th Dec 2010) on the Friday 14th Jan, and I was concerned as to how to deal with the situation effectively, even under the potential threat of violence to my person and property, so that everyone’s needs could be met.
When I returned from my visit to Hackney, the bailiffs had again entered the site, in breach of our verbal contract, without warning or notice, (and hence unlawfully); they had again changed the locks, and this time removed all my vehicles, including my remaining tools, all my living accommodation, clothes, food etc, amounting to a burglary (Unlawful Entry and Theft) of several thousand pounds worth of tools and equipment.
I fail to see how either this action, or the previous actions of Constant& Co, the bailiffs (Peace officers!) in this case, are either reasonable or proportionate; in fact it seems to me to be most a serious abuse of their powers, contrary to all guidance and public policy on the treatment of travellers, in particular of a single traveller, the most vulnerable of a very  vulnerable group of people. It is contrary to the ECHR, the Human Rights Act, the Bailiffs Code of Conduct, and more seriously yet, it is contrary to both Common Law and Equity.
I have thus been rendered homeless and without a means to earn a living through  the deprivation of all my tools and equipment.
I will be reporting the crime of Burglary as per the incident on the 23rd Dec 2010 to a constable in Lambeth Police station, and making a complaint to the following bodies:

Association of Civil Enforcement Agencies
Chesham House
150 Regent Street
London W1R 5FA     Tel: 020-7432 0366
Fax: 020-7432 0516
Email: sec@acea.org.uk
website: www.acea.org.uk

The Executive Director
Certificated Bailiffs Association
Ridgefield House
14 John Dalton Street
Manchester M2 6JR     Tel: 0161-839 7225
Fax: 0161-834 2433
e-mail: enquiries@bailiffs.org.uk
website: www.bailiffs.org.uk

Institute of Revenues Ratings and Valuation
41 Doughty Street
London WC1N 2LF     Tel: 020-7831 3505
Fax: 020-7831 2048
website: www.irrv.org.uk

Sheriffs' Officers' Association
Ashfield House
Illingworth Street
Ossett
West Yorkshire WF5 8AL     Tel: 01924-279005
Fax: 01924-280114

Under Sheriffs' Association
20-21 Tooks Court
London EC4A 1LB     Tel 020-7025 2550
Fax- 020-7025 2551
Email:j-hargrove@sheriffs.co.uk

Local Authority Civil Enforcement Forum
Brighton & Hove City Council
Priory House
PO Box 2929
Brighton BN1 1PS     Tel:01273-291876
Fax: 01273-291 881
Email:barrie.minney@brighton-hove.gov.uk
Website: www.lacef.org.uk

UNLAWFUL EVICTIONS - A CASE IN POINT . . .


TO Whom It Concerns:

I have been actively involved in campaigning on environmental issues since I was a child.

When I left school & home in 1979, having decided as far as possible not to participate in our environmentally destructive culture, I became a traveller living on the fringes of society.
Hence, for the last 32 years (I am 51 yrs old now) I have lived almost exclusively in vehicles ranging from a VW camper, to a Fiat Panda, to my present accommodation which is a 7.5 tonne Leyland 'Road Runner' box van.

For more than 30 years I have been and I remain largely concerned with campaigning and teaching on issues of Common Law and Equity relating to Social and Environmental issues.
I have never been paid for any of this work.
I am well known to the Police with whom I have a generally good relationship.
I have a web site here:

Concerning the property presently in question, hereinafter referred to as "the site",  which is known as "52 Nine Elms Lane".

The site consists of a medium sized yard about 30 yards square, having two 7' high steel gates and a small side gate, which are topped with 2' coils of barbed wire. There is a small two storey office block about 12' by 36'.
I understand that there is an electrical sub station (apparently inactive) incorporated into the ground floor of the office block, its sole entrance being onto Nine Elms Lane.

Prior to moving in I had been watching the site for nearly two weeks, since on a walk in the area, I had previously noticed that the site appeared to be deserted and unused; furthermore on closer inspection I observed that there was no lock on one of the main gates. On google maps dated Jan 1st 2006 there are shown a conveyor belt, two large storage silos, and ready-mix concrete lorries, all of which were now absent.

There is a dilapidated jetty to the River Thames on the North boundary of the yard. There is some hastily erected Harris fencing on the North boundary.

On my several visits during that time I observed that there were no fresh tracks or footprints in or out of the yard, and the weeds which had been growing for some time across the gates were undisturbed. Also when I entered the office block, which was open, I found the key to the office door lying inside, I concluded that the site was unused, and it appeared to be abandoned.

17th of November 2010.
On or about the 17th of November 2010, I moved onto the site with my vehicles comprising one 7.5 tonne Leyland, one working Ford Transit Van, one catering trailer converted into a workshop, and a further Ford Transit Luton with no engine which serves me as a trailer.

After a few days living here I fitted my own lock to the main gate which had no lock. I left the original locks on the other gates, thereby not denying any rightful owner with a key access to the site.
From 17th of Nov, the day I moved onto the site, until 21st Dec, I made a reasonably comfortable temporary dwelling on the first floor of the office building, as I intended to do some repairs to the Leyland which has a leaky roof. The dwelling comprised a bed-sit/kitchen and a studio (I am also a film-maker engaged in producing a documentary drama on Common Law and Equity as relating to Environmental and Social Issues).

I made no attempt to hide my obvious presence on the site.
During all of that time (17th Nov to 21st Dec) I was in full view of various workmen operating in the adjacent premises which belongs to Thames Water. I was neither told nor asked to leave, in fact there was no communication between us apart from an occasional waved greeting on my part.
As a result I reasonably assumed there was no objection to my continued presence; and as my period of residence was by now over 28 days, I believe that even if there were an owner responsible for the property, a license to stay was implied by the absence of any request or order to leave. [In statute  law, a different process is required to evict when an "unauthorised occupant" has been in residence for more than 28 days].

On the 21st  of December I went to Hackney to visit a friend and celebrate the Winter Solstice, which is a well known three day mid-winter religious festival commonly celebrated by "New Travellers".


23rd Dec.

On my return at about 9pm on the 23rd I found that my lock on the gate had been removed and replaced with a much stronger one. There were eviction notices on the gate demanding immediate vacation or my vehicles and other property would be removed. As it was late I decided to stay with a friend nearby in Camberwell and return the next morning.


24th Dec.

Upon my return next morning I regained access to the site (without damaging the new lock), and found that the whole office block had been secured with "sitex". Several of the windows had been smashed, and glass was strewn all over the ground.
Many of my possessions were in a pile among the 2" deep mud & water and broken glass lying around outside the office block.

Some of my possessions including computer equipment and a stereo had been put into the back of my luton van. These had then been covered with soaking wet and muddy clothes and bedding, which had obviously been thrown out through the first floor door into the mud and glass below, and then removed into the van and placed on top of the electrical equipment. The van was left open to the elements.

As stated, there was a pile of clothing, bedding, broken crockery, broken lamps etc. remaining in the mud.

My tools, the batteries for my vehicles, a folding table, and various other domestic items were nowhere to be seen. My washing machine was visible through the sitex in the ground floor room where I had installed it a few days previously.

There were notices posted PUBLICLY (i.e. contrary to the Bailiffs' Code of Practice) upon the yard gates and upon my vehicles stating  that it was a "Common Law" eviction. Yet in the Common Law there is a Duty of Care imposed upon every person in this country, which states that "you must take reasonable care to avoid acts or omissions you can reasonably foresee WOULD BE LIKELY to injure your neighbour" – to injure their person or property.
Without going into too much detail, the Duty of Care imposed upon a "professional person" is much stricter than that which is imposed upon "the person on the Clapham omnibus" [the doctrine of STRICT LIABILITY].

Further, in the Bailiffs’ Code of Conduct, it is made quite clear that bailiffs are NOT TO EVICT on days of religious holidays or celebrations. As bailiffs “very experienced” in evicting New Travellers, Constant & Co bailiffs ought reasonably to have known not to evict an obvious traveller site during the three days of the Winter Solstice celebration (see the notice posted by them PUBLICLY all over the site as to whether they knew that it is a traveller’s site).

I decided to call the bailiffs "Constant & Co and Co" whose card was stapled to one of the notices on my Leyland.
During my call to Constant & Co Bailiffs I pointed out to their representative, Mr Adam Almond, that the instruction written on the notices to leave immediately was unreasonable and impossible for me to perform as the batteries for my vehicles and my tools appeared to be either locked in the building behind the sitex, or else completely missing. Also the gate was locked.

Mr Almond stated that the site is not suitable for a traveller to live on as there is an electrical sub-station on the premises, which appears to be true, however the sub-station appears to be inactive; also the only entrance to it is from the road outside, so the existence of the substation in the office block does not appear to be substantially relevant to my occupation.
Indeed my occupation of the site may well deter anyone else from interfering with the substation, as it is otherwise unattended outside working hours, and even during working hours, only if the workmen happen to be present on the site next door.

I also pointed out that had I or a visiting friend been a diabetic returning late at night, and in urgent need of insulin which may well have been left inside the building, that person may LIKELY have fallen into a coma and frozen to death on the pavement; or again being in a diabetic trance, and attempting to climb the 7' high gate with coils of barbed wire on top in order to gain access to the insulin inside, may LIKELY have fallen and suffered serious injury or even death.
However, as I quickly pointed out, the Duty of Care does not say to avoid acts or omissions which DID injure your neighbour, it says LIKELY to injure your neighbour – the clear intention being to PREVENT injury.
Constant & Co bailiffs, having made no enquiries prior to their "Common Law" eviction, had no knowledge as to whether I was a diabetic, or suffered psychotic episodes, or anything else about me or my friends or associates.
Please note that issues of ill-health and mental illness are as much as THREE TIMES MORE COMMON in the minority travelling community than they are in the settled community

[Please consider that if I or a visiting friend suffered from psychotic episodes, and similarly, that essential medication had been locked inside. Such a person would LIKELY become very angry, and would reasonably be foreseeable as LIKELY to go and cause a breach of the peace, or injury, or even death to an innocent person passing by.

Mr Almond asked me if I was a diabetic, to which I replied in the negative, he then stated that my point was therefore irrelevant.


I assert that even with due regard to the Criminal Law Act s6, Constant & Co bailiffs did not take reasonable care before initiating their excessively violent action, that they did this knowingly, as a 'blanket action' with prejudice and forethought against travellers, which is against UK public policy, the Human Rights Act, the ECHR, and the bailiffs' code of conduct; and I assert that this constitutes "reckless behaviour" which in Common Law is criminal.  (07-01-2011)


The conversation became somewhat heated at this point, and Mr Almond then stated that the same personnel who had performed the "eviction" would attend again on the 29th Dec to open the sitex and remove any of my possessions remaining inside. He further stated and that I would not be allowed to enter the building to see that all my belongings were removed. He also stated that if he had been able to arrange for a tow truc, my vehicles would have been removed already – without contact, discussion, or trial before a jury; which is against UK public policy; the Human Rights Act; the ECHR; which breaches my inalienable rights under the Magna Carta; and which is contrary to both Common Law and Equity, the highest Principles of Law in the world.

In view of the excessively violent way in which my possessions had been so far treated, I asked Mr Almond if I would be subjected to any threatening or abusive behaviour, he replied "that is not our style", to which I retorted that it did indeed appear to be their style, and he put the phone down.

I put the pile of my possessions which had been left in the 2" of mud, water, and broken glass outside, into the back of my working van. Then, as an afterthought, I took some photos. I cleaned up some more of the mess, and returned to my friends' house in Camberwell.



29th Dec.

I next attended the site on the 29th of Dec to meet with the Bailiffs, but by midday they had not appeared so I called Mr Almond again, advising him that I was on the site and was continuing to clean up the mess, including removing the mud, water, glass, and broken crockery etc still left on the ground outside the office block.

Mr Almond said that Constant & Co personnel would attend the next day at 11.30am.

I took some more pictures before and after my efforts to clean up the mess and left the site, returning to my friend's house in Camberwell.



30th Dec.

I arrived at the site just after 11.30am to find two men whom I assumed were the bailiffs from 'Constant & Co' outside the gate. I introduced myself and we entered through the side gate.

After a short and polite discussion I was allowed to enter the office and remove my possessions which were remaining inside. These comprised a red cantilever tool-box (containing some general mechanic's tools such as spanners, screwdrivers, some specialist pliers, a ball pein hammer, various nuts and bolts etc), my three vehicle batteries, a folding table, a fruit juice extractor, pots and pans, and some electrical sundries, etc.
My carpets are still inside.

My battery charger; a nearly new 3/4" drive socket set; a dewalt tool bag containing professional power tools; carpenter's chisels; a claw hammer; pry bar, some wrenches; pliers; and a tray of assorted wood-screws; etc were NOT PRESENT in the room where I had left them. However, as I had not yet been thoroughly through the pile of wet muddy possessions which had been placed in my van, I did not at that time know if they were missing from the site altogether.

I signed a form agreeing that I had removed all of my possessions remaining in the office.

The bailiffs then offered me until the 14th January to prepare my vehicles ready to move off the site, and arrange insurance, an offer which I provisionally accepted.

I asked the bailiffs "how was I to gain access to the site to do the required work on my vehicles prior to leaving", i.e.:
 - ensure safe loads,
 - reconnect hoses and refill the radiator with water, it having been drained on account of the cold weather,
 - check to see the core plugs had not blown
 - fully charge the batteries (cold weather makes diesel engines harder to start), and fit the batteries.

One of the bailiffs replied "that is your problem".
We left the site, and the bailiffs secured the gates.


31st Dec 2010 to 4th Jan 2011.

During this time I stayed with friends in Camberwell.

5th Jan to the time of writing this statement on 7th Jan @ 20.00hrs.

On the 5th Jan I returned and regained possession of the site by removing the locks on the main gate and the side gate which had been put there by Constant & Co Bailiffs, and replacing them with my own new locks.

The lock on the main gate I had to cut off.
Concerning the one on the side gate I was able to cut a link in the chain without damaging the existing lock which I am presently looking after.
Also, I have secured the other main gate against entry with a cycle lock without removing the existing lock. Hence I have now denied any further unlawful access without my consent.
I have written a notice to this effect (see below), which I will print and post where it is visible from outside the premises.
I consider that I have dealt with "my problem" of gaining access to the site in a reasonable, prudent, and well intentioned (i.e. NOT criminal) manner.

As of 5th January I am again living on the site, although now in my Leyland with the leaky roof.

I am currently in the process of cleaning and tidying the mess left of my remaining possessions and in the yard. To this end, I have carefully, and without doing any significant damage, removed the sitex from the two doors on the ground floor in order to regain access to the water and electricity supplies.
The sitex door on the first floor, to which I do not presently need access, is still in place.

Since my initial entry to the site I have been, and I still am, willing to pay for the electricity I have used, although usage will have to be estimated as there is currently no meter installed.

I have reinstalled my washing machine and washed nearly all of my wet and muddy clothes, having first separated and removed as much of the broken glass as I can.
My wet and muddy (and now unpleasantly smelly) bedding is too bulky for the washing machine and will need to be cleaned in a launderette or replaced.

The removal of my tools and materials is contrary to the Bailiffs Code of Practice even if I owed money (which I do not!), and when combined with unlawful entry constitutes Burglary; also it has rendered it impossible for me to earn the money required to purchase insurance for my vehicles prior to leaving the site.
Hence I intend to remain on the site at least until my tools are returned in good condition, and/or until financial compensation for all loss and damage, including undue stress and mental suffering is arranged and executed, and reasonable time is then given for me to earn the money required to move.

Notwithstanding all of the above, I am willing to come to a caretaking arrangement with the landowner. I am confident that the Police can give a good account of me as a law abiding and responsible person who is suitable for such a position.

Yours sincerely,

Nicholas J. Clare.
EcoTort Theatre,
52, Nine Elms Lane,
Vauxhall,
LONDON.
SW8 5DA.



NOTICE !

Under Common Law and Equity I hereby assert that I am in LAWFUL OCCUPATION of the formerly abandoned property known as "52 Nine Elms Lane".

Furthermore, regardless of whether I am present or not, as a single occupant, under the Human Rights Act, the ECHR, and under Common Law and Equity, I also give notice that I am opposed to any entry by any person or persons; except by personal invitation from myself; or by prior arrangement with myself; or with reasonable and due notice on the authority of a valid Court Order issued by a Court de jure; or a by Police Officer with a valid Warrant for my arrest for a crime for which, under Common Law and Equity I would reasonably be foreseeable as likely to be found guilty by a Jury of my Peers.

I further give notice that I FULLY INTEND TO SUE for any wrongful arrest, or entry, or further damage to my person or property.



MISSING AND DAMAGED ITEMS

this is not a complete list as I take different tools to different jobs and would not be able to say exactly which tools would be in the bag at any time. However, since looking through my kit I am quite certain that all of the tools listed below are missing:
MISSING & DAMAGED ITEMS
REPLACEMENT VALUE
yellow and black dewalt tool bag containing:
£35
professional 41/2" bosch angle grinder and blades
£65
professional bosch power drill
£150
extension lead
£15
Hittachi impact driver with charger and bits
£170
set of professional quality wood chisels
£50
set of professional quality masonry and metal cutting drill bits
£100
professional quality spanners
£30
professional quality screwdrivers
£30
professional quality pliers and mole grips
£30
'record' pipe wrench
£50
claw hammer
£15
pry-bar
£8
sundry items
£30


tray containing:
£15
assorted wood-screws and washers
£30
jigsaw blades
£15
drill bits
£20
impact driver screw-driver bits
£15
special impact driver collets for drill bits
£25


an almost new ¾" drive socket set
£300


HEAVY DUTY staple gun
£30


DAMAGED ITEMS

2 blankets ruined due to water damage
£30
futon mattress ruined due to water damage
£75
19” flat screen monitor no longer works due to water damage
£120
computer keyboard broken
£10
usb projector no longer works due to water damage
£100
TOTAL REPLACEMENT VALUE
£1563