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.    

October /November 2014. Correspondence with CRT, FOI requests and further examples of CRT misdeeds. (Some revision July 2016).

Here is an email I sent to Steven Holder, CRT solicitor, on 15th September (2014).

Mr. Holder

We have to come to an agreement over compensation due to me for the destruction of my boat.    You can repair it and return it to me but I doubt that that is feasible.  The boat would need a lot of work as patching up damage to the bottom of a boat that has considerable wear is not practicable as the old planks would dry out and the bottom would also need re-caulking.   A new bottom would be needed and then cleaning out, re-lining and refitting.

Then, of course, you have stated that I have to remove the boat from CRT water.  What am I supposed to do with it?

You 'seized' my boat unreasonably and unlawfully, transported it unnecessarily and unreasonably and damaged it in the process.   You claimed an amount of money to cover the cost of this unlawful and unreasonable action.   Creating a 'debt' where there was none, with VAT added twice.   

You refused to negotiate how I get my boat back, didn't tell me it had sunk, although, I'm sure you were aware of it. You then did not respond to my emails, asking for an acknowledgement that it had sunk, until I said I had passed the details to a solicitor.

You then said I have to pay you the, so-called, 'debt' to get back my damaged and sunken boat which is 125 miles away.

I have no doubt whatsoever that the attack on me is malicious and nothing was going to stop you taking my boat in such a way that I could not get it back.    There is plenty of evidence of this from the perversion of the court proceedings plus events prior to the court action and the circumstances around the seizure of my boat.

This is all about to be exposed.

At the very least you owe me the cost of a replacement historic boat.   I have had legal advice and I am assured that that is your obligation.   Or are you prepared to spend more public money pursuing your malicious and unlawful attack.

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!7th September.

A reply from Steven Holder.

    Your latest email contains the same allegations which, for the same reasons previously explained to you by my colleagues and I, are denied in their entirety.  A suggestion you are owed compensation is similarly unfounded.

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 Another case, against Tony Dunkley, has been dropped.   It was a case concerning the required movement of boaters who have a home mooring.   It has been generally accepted that if you have a home mooring you do not suffer from the absurd and punitive rules for those without a home mooring.  

The Judge declared, in the case against me, that if I had a home mooring I could moor as I chose and need never use the home mooring.    He said that was a way I could remain on the waterways and CRT had to give me my licence back.    He made them agree to this.      They, of course, were not going to allow me to get away with that as they were determined to steal my boat and make me homeless.    It was, as I say, a malicious and personal attack.

They therefore looked for someone whose mooring and movement practices could be challenged in court.    They pursued someone in the Wigan area, usual victim profile- 60 to 70 years old - forcing him to move on to the Bridgewater Canal (different authority).   They probably went after a few others and are left with the one who is prepared to challenge them, Tony Dunkley - 70 years+. 

They, then, came and took my boat anyway. 

Information from myself and others was used by Tony to create a defence.   It was discovered that, yet again, they had wrongly used a Part 8 procedure to mislead the court.

In challenging the privileged position of those with a home mooring CRT were, of course, upsetting those who support their enforcement and persecution against those without a home mooring who are abused by the unlawful rules of 'continuous cruising'. They, therefore, met with a lot of opposition from their allies, among whom are several solicitors and barristers.     

They dropped the case.    

I had had my boat taken anyway so was no longer as much of a problem.  I, of course, as I challenged the unlawful rules of 'continuous cruising' and the abuse of innocent and vulnerable people, did not get the same support.  Why should some boaters, because they have a home mooring which they require as they don't live on their boat - their choice - be subject to different rules to others who don't need a home mooring and which, if available, are illegal.    

Some see the case as a victory.  It is up to a point.   The point is no-one should be subject to absurd, punitive and unworkable rules, determining where they go and what they do with their 'licenced' boat', which bear no relation to the reality of being on/living on a boat.       Whether or not they have a 'home mooring' is irrelevant.  You have a mooring, if available, because you need one.   'They' - CRT, the Association of Waterways Cruising Clubs, the Association of Pleasure Craft Operators (hire boats), et al - want you to pay for a mooring whether you have one or not.    (Stated objective of AWCC and aim of a petition by APCO).   

The absurd rules of 'continuous cruising' are the 'punishment' for not 'complying'.    

CRT's more recent, since 2007, use of the CC rules, with increased 'enforcement'  (harassment), is aimed at driving boats into marinas to encourage marina development, prior to BWML taking over all of them,   (development by acquisition being their stated intent).   Profit from BWML marinas rents, i.e. your mooring fees, does not go to the maintenance of the waterways.  BWML is a private subsidiary of CRT.   

All this is down to Sally Ash.    Years of interference with people's lives and mind numbing, tedious, argument and the destruction of a 'way of life', and of 'goodwill' and 'community' on the waterways, which was always spoken of in relation to 'living on a boat'.   Not any more.   We now have division, hatred and persecution in the name of a 'remit to raise revenue'.   All they want is 'rent'.   We have to fit into their 'property portfolio'.   We are factors in an economic equation.   We might as well be livestock raised for slaughter.   

Some see a victory in the 'empowerment of an incompetent, unimaginative woman of severely limited perception in a position of authority over something she knows nothing about and over people she doesn't like the look of.   Another 'victory' for those who think women being in positions of authority is an end in itself, regardless of the consequences for the rest of us, particularly men who challenge them.  

The case should never have been brought in the first place and people were wrongly threatened and harassed.    It can be extremely distressing to be subjected to this kind of trumped up legal action.   Fortunately Tony Dunkley is not someone to be intimidated.  He has been on the waterways for 58 years and is more than a match for the lily livered, bully boy, cowards who do the dirty work for CRT.

(Also more than a match for the opinionated clique who hang out on the Canalworld Forum who see themselves as the arbiters of all canal related issues and snipe at anyone who has anything to say that counters their narrow view where , it seems, that anyone who doesn't have a 'mooring' is a 'freeloader' or 'pisstaker').   

After dropping the case against Tony CRT admitted that they had put false evidence into the court.   They did the same in my case, and lied in court, and forged a map in another case (Nigel Moore).  They also lie in their responses, when they actually respond, to Freedom of Information requests.   We could, and should, get together and pursue a claim against CRT, but as others seem to have a certain agenda and I don't, and I am more outspoken against CRT, I am a bit of a 'persona non grata'.     All an inevitable part of the process which I include in my analysis of 'how they get away with it'.