Friday 21 March 2014


SGC: Liars

Today I received a phone call from Avon & Somerset Police in response to my fresh complaint about Bristow & Sutor. The plod in question (I didn't catch the name) was refreshingly bright for a plod, and surprisingly polite.  But alas, to no avail.  This year the plod have a whole new line of bullshit. Finally the plod have admitted that advance fee fraud is a criminal matter (and not a civil matter) and did not repeat that usual mantra.  This year, the official line is that they cannot investigate without a ruling from the Local Government Ombudsman on a given case. This does not take account of the fact that the LGO have already made several rulings on "phantom visits" and so Avon & Somerset Police are effectively passing the buck and leaving it to the LGO to decide if a crime has taken place.  An unusual precedent for the police to be farming their work out to quasi-NGO's. 

Unfortunately, trying to get a plod to think past his conditioning is about as fruitful as swatting flies with a hammer.  They have their official line and conveniently, it means they don't have to do anything apart from tick the "no action required" checkbox on their database to say that they have followed up on a complaint.  They must be so proud of their efficiency.

But the fun doesn't stop there.  Today I received a letter from South Gloucestershire Council from "Mrs Willaims".  I have had prior dealings with this odious creature.  She is most unpleasant, as indeed all council employees are.  She asserts that Bristow & Sutor have in fact made prior visits to my property (of which, quelle surprise, there is no evidence whatsoever). She has consulted with them, and taken their word for it.  I am supposed to accept on hearsay that they have visited my property.  Not at any time prior to their "final warning" have their bailiffs made themselves apparent, hence why I was so surprised Bristow & Sutor were the designated bailiff company.

She also asserts that each visit was made by a certified bailiff.  How am I to have confirmed this when I have never met an individual from Bristow & Sutor?  Normally I would ask them for their full name and to see their ID, then check the internet register of certified bailiffs.  I have not been able to confirm this as I have only a first name on which to go by.

Williams asserts that the lack of proper self-identification in no way invalidates the legality of the fees for the alleged visits.  What she is saying is that the word of the bailiff company is sufficient for the council and they will uphold any claim they make without investigation or verification.  But that is nothing we did not know. The underlying theme to all this is that the council and their criminal contractors view a visit as merely driving to the property, and leaving any communications is entirely optional.  I can't say I blame the bailiffs for not doing so, since everything they post through my door is recorded as evidence.

South Gloucestershire Council are not interested as to whether the law has been followed (or even their own guidelines).  Their only concern is that they get their money.  So the next time someone tells you that paying your council tax is some sort of moral duty, remind them that councils take your money under threat of force, and are happy to break their own laws in order to get it.

My own experiences, in addition to the work of and point to a national epidemic of fraud that neither the councils nor the police have any interest in putting a lid on. Naturally I will be writing a full and frank reply to Mrs Williams, which will be published here when I get near internet that works properly (thanks BT).  I would try appealing to the creatures human side but given how it writes and who it works for, it's fair to assume it hasn't got one.  

Last years dispute is still ongoing and this year I hold no greater hope of making a breakthrough, but I take some comfort in that bailiffs are now at least vaguely acknowledging the presence of a regulatory fee schedule on their hastily scribbled, fraudulent communications - and the Plod have at least dropped their "civil matter" mantra by passing the buck to the LGO.  This is progress of sorts. But the police now rely on you giving up and going away.  The LGO will only act when the council complaint process has been followed in full, and you can see where that gets you.

I have to hand it to SGC though.  This year they have swatted up on the law. They're now getting quite devious about this because if they admit just one instance of malpractice then that opens the floodgates.  Consequently I expect them to dangle the threat of prison over my head if I don't pay the fees this time.  But I will have my day in court.  And that will cost the state more than £42.50.  Any attempt to clamp my car will be met the usual resistance.

As soon as my internet is working properly I will post the full letter from SGC.  It is breath-taking, even by their standards, both in its brazenness and arrogance.  I am not surprised "Mrs Williams" does not wish to disclose her full identity, but that in itself tells you rather a lot.


  1. you should issue common law commercial liens against them for tort and also statutory declarations to set aside any legal shenanigans

    works for Guy Taylor! truly awesome clued up man...

  2. Interesting to see how the Local Government Ombudsman (LGO) would view this. Of course, there is a conflict of interest having the LGO look into any concerns raised about a local authority. The alleged governing body makes good money out of the Council Taxpayer from the payments our local authorities pay each year for "Effective Complaints Training" delivered by LGO staff. For example, North East Lincolnshire Council has handed £8,250 of taxpayers money to the LGO for this purpose going back only as far as 2010. With the LGO complaint procedure formed by statute, it is likely the "effective" element of the training will be the focusing on areas that would withstand the scrutiny of the Ombudsman, or in other words, the restricted matters that the law will allow it to investigate (a stitch-up).

    In any event, it wouldn't reflect well on the organisation's courses, if with any regularity, it was found that it was opposing the councils findings and is probably the reason why the LGO has notoriety for determining the outcome of its investigations in favour of local authorities.

    In one instance a complaint about bailiff fraud, a decision was taken by the force not to record a subsequent complaint about the force not investigating the incident as it was deemed a "Civil Matter" between myself and the council where the proper authority to deal with such complaints would be the LGO. Ironically, the same complaint was made to the LGO which stated that allegations of crime are to be taken up with the Police.

  3. In the criminal law, failure to act, constitutes a "guilty act" and give rise to liability when the law imposes a duty to act and the defendant is in breach of that duty.

    R v Dytham [1979] Q.B. 722