So, Prajna and I were preparing to collect our belongings, held in storage by Cheshire West & Chester Council, and to set up camp at a site in Hooton which a friend had offered for our use. Prajna was particularly keen to get there and commence re-building our shelter and I warmed to the idea once I saw the location of our new camp. However….
We called the Gypsy Traveller (sorry, I mean Autolift) Liaison Officer to make arrangements for the collection of our belongings and were informed by her that we were being charged for storage and that our things wouldn’t be released to us until the outstanding amount had been paid. She also informed us that our property would be ‘disposed of’ after the 24th October should we fail to collect it, thus giving us just 8 days to stump up £652!
She said that we had been noticed of their intention to charge us for removal and storage of our belongings in the eviction notice we’d been given. This is untrue… we know because we have every single piece of paper these common purpose drones have given us and there is not one mention in any of those documents about charges for removal and storage of out property! Failure to notify us of their intention to charge us entirely voids their claim.
She quoted the Local Government (miscellaneous provisions) Act 1982 in support of her claim. Obviously the council bods concerned, unlike myself and Prajna, haven’t bothered to read the Act they’re referencing as it is in no way applicable to the circumstances at hand.
Subsequent to that initial conversation we contacted the councils legal services and arranged for them to hold onto our stuff for a further two months, pending our legal action against the council and others.
We asked that all of this be put in writing and sent to us. Two days later the autolift liaison officer called to confirm what we needed from her in writing and for a postal address. During this call it transpired that the council had unilaterally changed the terms of our agreement (read verbal contract) and reduced the time we had to one month. Tut tut! Do these people know nothing of the law which they claim gives them authority over us? It seems not!
Finally, one week later the requested documentation arrived.
This time the council are quoting the Torts (interference with goods) act 1977 in order to justify their extortion. And once again it appears that they haven’t bothered to read the legislation they’re referencing.
The so called ‘itinerary’ of our belongings that they have in storage is a joke, with many items being listed twice or more and many, many items not listed at all(!) including our caravan, timber, tarp’s, salamander space/warehouse heater, stock pots etc, etc. These omission are of particular concern as they wish to also charge us for the hire of two skips – presumably these skips were used to dispose of our building materials (and when I say ‘dispose of’ what I actually mean is take for themselves a significant amount of good quality timber and other building materials and items of value generally).
So, once again, without lawful or legal excuse, the powers that be are holding our existential needs to ransom.
We’ve been hard at work over the last few weeks studying relevant legislation, case law, codes of practice and rules which those claiming authority over us must follow. And we have found our oppressors wanting from the very beginning, when we were initially stopped by a cop with NO authority to stop us, and at every single turn since that initial, unlawful, unauthorised stop.
We have a 17 point complaint written up and quote statute, case law and codes of practice/rules in reams of supporting documentation we’re gathering. It’s only a question now of getting the right advice on the best way to move forward (there are several options open to us, but knowing where to begin and how to proceed is a little daunting). Our friends, Andy and Val, have put us into contact with a friend of theirs who works as a barrister (unlike ‘barrister Jack’ who does not!). We’ve sent her an outline of our complaint and have had one brief chat with her. We’re now waiting to hear back from her, hopefully today.
We also need to pay a visit to our friends John and Tina, who are also in a position to advise and guide.
In the meantime we’re living with friends in Liverpool in a house that is up for sale. We have no idea how long we have here, all we know is that the place must be sold before July.
The fight goes on!
Much love to you all,
Kazz and Prajna. xxx