No doubt this will be shamefully ignored by the media, including those journalists who read this blog. It seems a determined effort by Avon and Somerset Police to not investigate the bailiff and debt recovery firm, Rundles, for the criminal application of attendance fees that exceed the statutory limits – and fraudulent phantom visits – has run out of road.
A compelling and detailed case history has been sent to Detective Inspector Caroline Stainer by Peter North. North’s stand against the illegal fees and refusal to pay for phantom visits has so far resulted in Rundles clamping his vehicle, even though they had no right to do so, North being convicted of criminal damage for removing it by cutting the padlock and Rundles then reporting his car as stolen even though they were not entitled to possession of the vehicle and did not have possession of the vehicle.
Avon & Somerset Police, like forces up and down the country, have turned a blind eye to such criminal behaviour by bailiffs, because they consider the activity of recovering debts on behalf of branches of the establishment – even by illegal means – as upholding law and good order. The blatant abuse of the law, use of illegal methods to enforce collection of debts and even false reports of a vehicle theft to ensure harrassment of the debtor, as exhibited by Rundles, needs to be put to an end and punished severely.
The self promotional claims of Rundles contrast dramatically with the reality of the behaviour of their bailiffs on the ground. Rundles, which describes itself as ‘a 5-star debt recovery agency specialising in council tax, penalty charge notices and national non-domestic rates’ say on their website:
Our team of certificated bailiffs is one of the largest in the country. Each of them is handpicked for their skills, attitude and approach and given comprehensive training to make sure they continue to deliver excellent collection rates.
Integrity and transparency are vital to us. Our clients’ accounts are fully audited by an independent Top 20 accountancy firm and Dun & Bradstreet recently gave us a 5-star rating, which means the condition of our business is superior to other firms in the industry.
The evidence presented by North lays utter waste to these claims. It is no wonder collection rates are ‘excellent’ when people who do not know the rules bailiffs are supposed to follow and are subsequently cowed into paying more than they owe, thus made victims of fraud in pursuit of debt recovery. Particularly when local authorities who are responsible for the conduct of the agents they retain, also ignore the illegal behaviour and tactics deployed. Councils seemingly feel their residents are fair game for such maltreatment if for whatever reason they don’t pay the monies demanded, at the time and in the way the council demands.
North has drawn a line in the sand and is refusing to be fobbed off. Any failure by the police to act now, after so much detail has been provided that shows the bailiffs have engaged in fraud and criminal behaviour, would represent a scandal of immense proportions and destroy any faith ordinary people have in the police and local authorities.
Crime is crime. The establishment does not have immunity under the law. It does not have a free pass to behave illegally with impunity. Our public servants need to remember their place and serve. That process needs to kickstart with the bringing charges against the bailiffs from Rundles acting on behalf of South Gloucestershire Council.