Testimonial

An account of the abuse of people living on boats on the waterways by the Canal and River Trust, previously British Waterways.   Then a Public Authority, now part Public Body, part Charity.   In receipt of public funds and public donations.  The account is based around the story of me and my boat Pearl, a converted Thomas Clayton tar boat built 1935.  It's not about me it's about them and their deliberate persecution of people, particularly 'vulnerable' people, who live on boats, and those who collude with them for their own selfish interests, and those authorities that allow them to get away with it.     

You don't have to live on a boat to find it alarming.    

April 2015 FOI request about seizure of boats.

This is a Freedom of Information request made through the 'What do They Know' website. 

geoff mayers

21 November 2014 

Dear Canal & River Trust,

In a response to a request by Pam Picket you state that 9 boats,
that had been seized, were returned to owners. Were those boats
allowed to remain on CRT water?

When a boat is seized it remains the property of the owner until a
certain date declared on the Tort notice. If the boat has been
damaged in that time is it not the case that CRT are liable for
that damage?

If the boat has been damaged beyond repair by the actions of CRT or
their agents is it not the case that CRT should compensate the
owner for their loss?

The Tort notice says 'As you have not contacted us in the past 6
weeks (or words to that effect) we claim ownership of your boat on
such and such a date.'

This is a notice applying to abandoned goods or property and is
being misused to claim property not abandoned and where there has
been contact. Can you confirm that you are using the same notice
for property abandoned and property not abandoned?

This is important information which you should provide given the
propensity of CRT to mislead people, and seize their boats, by
misusing the legal process and misleading the victim and the court.

Yours faithfully,

geoff mayers

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 From: Information Request
Canal & River Trust

18 December 2014

 Dear Mr Mayers,

Thank you for your e-mail and I apologise for the delay responding. Your e-mail has been sent to us as a Freedom of Information Act request via the Whatdotheyknow.com website, however after considering the content of your e-mail it's clear that you have not actually made any requests for information that may already be recorded.

The following advice is published by the Information Commissioners Office in order to assist individuals when making their requests for information to public organisations: https://ico.org.uk/for-the-public/offici.... Should you wish to rephrase your questions to request information then you may find the guidance helpful.

Alternatively, if you do not wish to rephrase your questions and make a freedom of information act request but would prefer us to consider your correspondence as it is currently then please do let me know and I will arrange for this to happen.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards,

Sarina Young
Customer Service Co-Ordinator

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8 January 2015

 

Dear Canal and River Trust,
Thank you for your reply.
Could you consider the first paragraph as a FOI request:-

' In a response to a request by Pam Picket you state that 9 boats,
that had been seized, were returned to owners. Were those boats
allowed to remain on CRT water?'

You should have records of this.
The rest can be passed on to be answered as a request for
information outside of the FOI constraints. However, I have asked
these questions before in various forms and not had a serious or
satisfactory response. There is a history of not responding to my
questions and subsequently taking action against me which is
unreasonable, unlawful and criminal with the intention of causing
me harm - particularly as a result of my asking questions that
BW/CRT don't want to answer.

'Catch 22' comes to mind.

A 'proper' response would be welcome. Either way the response I get
will be published on my website 'Canal and River Tyranny'.

Regards

Geoff Mayers

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From: Information Request
Canal & River Trust

16 February 2015

 Dear Mr Mayers,

I refer to your question 'In a response to a request by Pam Picket you
state that 9 boats, that had been seized, were returned to owners. Were
those boats allowed to remain on CRT water?'

We have searched our records and can confirm that in the case of these
nine boats there were two outcomes:

· boat is not on our waters.

· boat is on our waters.

Yours sincerely,
Sarina Young

Customer Service Co-Ordinator

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From: geoff mayers

24 February 2015

 

Dear Information Request,

Thank you for your reply.

The question was, ' were these boats allowed to remain on CRT
waters'. I.e. did they receive a 'Notice of intention to sell
goods' which contained the sentence:-

For the avoidance of doubt, after you have taken delivery of the
goods they must be removed from the Bailee's waterways'.

Additionally, were their boats 'removed from the water' and
transported a considerable distance from the site of removal? Were
any taken in excess of 100 miles and was that removal and
transportation the only 'debt'. I.e. was the only 'debt', that
which was created by the, unnecessarily costly,
removal/transportation process?

Thank you for answering the other questions in a separate email. I
will attach the reply in an annotation.

Yours sincerely,

geoff mayers

 

geoff mayers left an annotation (26 February 2015)

 

Response from CRT regarding removal of boats and their duties, obligations and accountability.

Dear Mr Mayers,
You confirmed to me that you would like us to send you a general response to the questions you asked in your ‘Freedom of Information Act’ request, that were not requesting already recorded information. As promised, here are our responses:
· When a boat is seized it remains the property of the owner until a certain date declared on the Tort notice. If the boat has been damaged in that time is it not the case that CRT are liable for that damage?
If a boat is damaged whilst it is in the custody of CRT’s or its agent/contractor as bailee, we/they would only be liable for any damage if it can be shown we/they have acted negligently.
· If the boat has been damaged beyond repair by the actions of CRT or their agents is it not the case that CRT should compensate the owner for their loss?
As above (i.e. only where we/they are shown to have been negligent).
· The Tort notice says 'As you have not contacted us in the past 6 weeks (or words to that effect) we claim ownership of your boat on such and such a date.'
(This is a statement, not a question)
· This is a notice applying to abandoned goods or property and is being misused to claim property not abandoned and where there has been contact. Can you confirm that you are using the same notice for property abandoned and property not abandoned?
Yes.
· This is important information which you should provide given the propensity of CRT to mislead people, and seize their boats, by misusing the legal process and misleading the victim and the court.
(Again, this is a statement, not a question)
Yours sincerely,
Sarina Young
Customer Service Co-Ordinator

This is the 'flippant' response to my questions that did not come under the FOI constraints.
My boat was taken, unnecessarily and unlawfully. Ignoring that, if we assume it was taken lawfully their actions were unnecessarily negligent leading to the sinking of my boat - a wooden boat, Thomas Clayton's Pearl, - originally built 1935, converted to a 'motor' 1945, partially rebuilt my me 1990 -1991. A 72ft boat that I told them would be damaged if it was craned out. They craned it out, transported it 125 miles, craned it back into CRT waters (so it wasn't removed from CRT waters). It immediately required 240volt pumps and subsequently sunk. I knew it would sink, I told them it would sink. I asked where it was. They wouldn't tell me.
Most boats are taken to Chester, or could be taken to several other places. Chester is 15 miles from where my boat was removed. It was taken to the Sharpness Canal - 125 miles away.
They wouldn't answer my questions in relation to the recovery of my boat. They said, in a Tort notice, that, upon recovery, I had to remove it from CRT water. They demanded a payment of £12,000 + which was entirely the cost of the removal and transportation and 'storage'. There was no other debt.
They did not tell me it had sunk. I found out by phoning the boatyard where it had been taken. They did not answer my emails regarding its sinking until I said I had instructed a solicitor. I told them they owed me a replacement historic boat as my boat appeared to be beyond repair, or economical repair. They refuted that claim and said I still owed them the costs remaining after the sale of the boat.
I don't have legal representation as it would be too costly and CRT/Shoosmiths would 'run up' the costs.
So, even if we assume they were entitled to take my boat, they had a 'duty of care' which they breached and there is no question that they owe me compensation.
As usual they refuse to acknowledge any responsibility, or respond to any challenge to their behaviour, unless they are taken to court - knowing that no-one can afford to take them to court. And knowing, of course, that they and their agents can, and do, easily corrupt and manipulate the legal process.
Therefore nothing can be resolved without recourse to costly legal action paid for by public money, government grant and public donations, and boat licence fees.
Unfortunately CRT have many blind, blinkered and self interested supporters and very few challengers who are prepared to pursue them as I do. Consequently, they get away with their reprehensible, immoral and unlawful behaviour which is exposed through these FOI requests and on my website 'Canal and River Tyranny'.
They are not fit to be a public body, previously a public authority, not fit to be the custodians of the waterways, not fit to be a 'charity' but, with many other 'crooked' authorities in this country, appear to have some immunity with regard to their actions. In another FOI request relating to my case information is being withheld as being 'not in the public interest'. I believe this relates to a 'higher authority' intervening in the legal process.
Issues raised by my complaints to BW/CRT and subsequent court action and associated questions and concerns, have a significance that goes beyond the abuse of people living on boats on the waterways.

  

Nigel Moore left an annotation ( 4 March 2015)

Aside from the other serious issues here, the wording of the Tort Notice as described gives rise to potential concern [as you imply]. Would it be possible to send me a scan or clear photograph of the Notice? I could then perhaps suggest a further line of enquiry if appropriate. 

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From: geoff mayers

20 March 2015

Dear Information Request,

I'm still awaiting a response to the questions of the 24th
February.

Yours sincerely,

geoff mayers

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These are some questions I asked when negotiating the recovery of my boat.

 Questions relating to the seizure and recovery of my boat which you have refused to answer.

 (1) Why are you saying that I had not been in contact in the six weeks after you had 'seized' my boat?

 (2) Why did you transport my boat to Saul Junction, on the Sharpness Canal, when, assuming the 'seizure' was lawful (which it wasn't) you were only entitled to remove it from the waterways or, presumably, otherwise impound it without recourse to absurd and costly action. It was an unnecessary, and unreasonable, action that can only be construed as malicious and intended to 'run up a debt', where there was none, and make it difficult for me to get my boat back?

 (3) Why was my boat removed from CRT water and then returned to CRT water?

 (4) How do you arrive at the costs you claim? I would like a breakdown of costs. It would cost less to transport a boat to the continent.

 (5) Why was VAT added twice?

 (6) Assuming it was right to 'remove my boat', in what way is this action the reasonable behaviour of a public body and a charity?

 (7) As you claim that a marina is private water and the waterway is CRT water why is it required to have a boat licence when moored in a marina?

 Additional questions.

 (1) You are taking a man in his seventies, who has been on the canal for 58 years, to court to get an injunction to seize his boat and make him homeless. You issued a summons to the court under a Part 8 hearing, which is for an uncontested claim, and failed to send him the paperwork which required him to submit a defence to the court within 14 days. You tried to mislead him and were misleading the court. He is a litigant in person. You took advantage of that fact, as you are with me. A solicitor from Shoosmiths then tried to intimidate him before the court hearing by saying we are going to take your boat.

Mr.Parry seems surprised by this, apparent, deception by your legal representatives. I don't think he is at all. That's what Shoosmiths do. That's why people like you hire them. You are both equally corrupt. Mr. Parry is being disingenuous. He is lying. Could you explain your actions please? Was it a mistake?

(2) No. It wasn't a mistake. I have now discovered that you did the same to me in 2010. I engaged a solicitor on legal aid and she was obviously intending to offer no defence and could not be contacted. Never mentioned a part 8 hearing. I engaged another solicitor. Same again. Extreme pressure on me to offer no defence. No mention of a Part 8 hearing. Why are you wrongly serving notice of a Part 8 hearing as a matter of course and misleading the defendant further by not sending the required, and very important, paperwork? This is a breach of procedure and an abuse of process. An intention to deceive the court and deceive the defendant. And, in my case, a clear indication of collusion between the opposing legal teams. Common practice, particularly in legal aid cases and particularly in cases involving Shoosmiths. Can you explain this away? Or will you continue to refuse to answer? Do I get the standard response again? Which is 'Thank you for your letter the comments of which have been noted but not agreed'.

(3) How can you continue to deny that you are, particularly, targetting people who are elderly and/or have health problems as has been the subject of my complaint to BW/CRT since 2007? Continually refuted, and refusal, by the Ombudsman (Hilary Bainbridge) to answer my questions which led to the malicious court action and, subsequent, thoroughly corrupt, legal process and theft of my boat.

 (4) How do I recover my boat? You say that, upon recovery, I must then remove it (again) from CRT water. How? How do I get to wherever I'm going? How can you execute, in breach of an undertaking to the court, a court order, demand a payment for recovery of seized property, and then, upon receipt of payment, seek to execute the court order again? Again, I contend, clear evidence of malicious intent. Am I, as an individual banned from the waterways? That's not what the Judge said, in fact he clearly stated that I was not? What if I get another boat? Will I be issued a licence? Will I be maliciously pursued again if I am?

You have to answer these questions. This is a legal process. I know your 'policy' is to 'make it up as you go along' with the attitude 'What are you going to do about it?' , and you usually get away with it, but you are obliged to answer these questions and your refusal to answer them will be publicly exposed. Your contempt for the law and for the legal process, and court process, is obvious and constantly demonstrated and is a disgrace

 And then,  I discovered my boat had sunk.

They didn't respond to my questions regarding the recovery of my boat, it then sunk due to the damage caused by them and their contractors. They then say I should still pay them the cost of damaging/sinking my boat and a weekly storage fee and then I cannot put it on, what they call, 'their water'. 

But they acknowledge in the letter I received through the FOI request that such action, by them, is 'negligent'.

I haven't heard any more from them.

Presumably I have to take them to court and they can waste more of your, and the public's, money. And mine.