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). - October


Pearl is for sale on a brokerage website.     The photograph used was taken on the day they stole my boat.   The two people in the photo are the bailiffs.

You can see that the boat was in a good condition, painted and sign written, (therefore, not a 'traveller' boat as they are neither painted nor sign written.   Not part of the 'culture'.).  What Pearl has become now is a damaged and sunken boat (not mentioned in the sales information) thanks to the malicious and unlawful intervention of the Canal and River Trust - who 'care about historic boats' (see emails from Steven Holder and Paul Griffin).

I have it on good authority that Pearl cannot be moved by water due to the damage and is beyond economical repair.     I could have kept Pearl going for years.   It was in a poor state 24 years ago.  I rebuilt it and lived on it all over the place ever since and it has never sunk.    

I hope those of you reading this are realising what a despicable organisation CRT are.   Don't give them any 'donations'.    Don't think of living on a boat, or living in a marina (unlawful and not cheap and with restrictions and nothing to do with what is meant by the idea of 'living on a boat').    The days of living on a boat as a way of life on a low income as a refuge from a world you have tired of, are gone thanks to BW/CRT, boat clubs and canal societies and their 'friend' Sally Ash.   Add to that hireboat companies and many of those with boats, for leisure use, in marinas.    

The canals are not maintained, the locks are dangerous, the towpath vegetation is not cut - so you can't get off your boat and 'liveaboards' are pariahs who are spied upon and pursued like criminals by CRT and 'volunteers' ( many from boat clubs but also actively recruited 'dog walkers).    Trust me, you won't believe what it's like.

Let it all fall apart or fight to get rid of those who have destroyed the heritage and the 'way of life'.  They should be removed from office and prosecuted or, in any other way violated and suppressed like they do to me and others.  (There are not many cases like mine only because people give up at an early stage in the process as they know they can't win.  I know several who have had to leave the waterways (actually there are hundreds if not thousands)  as a result of the stress and uncertainty inflicted upon us by arbitrary rules, and their arbitrary enforcement, by ignorant bullying individuals whose remit is to harass and threaten people whose way of life they neither understand or appreciate. Lies, false accusations and entrapment are all encouraged in the pursuit of one who dares to challenge them.     (July 2016.   Witness evidence of two of them - an 'enforcement officer' and 'enforcement supervisor'  is under the heading 'Cogs in the Machine'.    The article on court transcripts is also interesting). 

I carried on the fight so I could tell the story and expose what they do.  Thousands of people are affected by this abuse.).       Whether anyone takes any notice or not is up to them.   

(If I, occasionally, sound like I'm 'ranting' that's because I'm 'ranting'.   Nothing wrong with that.   It's perfectly reasonable and justifiable - and unavoidable).

I have submitted a  Freedom of Information Request on the What do they Know website about the use of Part 8 procedure.  It has not been satisfactorily answered and is awaiting an internal review.   It doesn't look like, as is usual, they are intending to answer it.   I will copy it here.

From: geoff mayers

15 July 2014

Dear Canal & River Trust,

Is it common practice for injunction proceedings to be arranged
under 'Part 8' procedure? This is for a hearing where there is no
dispute of facts and no defence is to be filed. An 'Acknowledgement
of Service' form has to be included in the papers served to the
defendant which has to be submitted to the court within 14 days.

BW/CRT have wrongly served these papers with a view to misleading
the defendant and misleading the court when no agreement has been
reached regarding a 'no defence' response and not enclosing the
'Acknowledgement of Service' form.

This is a corrupt practice and an abuse of process. How many court
proceedings have been initiated in this way?

A defendant misled in this way would find he cannot speak at the
hearing and can offer no defence.

Yours faithfully,

geoff mayers

Link to this


From: Information Request
Canal & River Trust

24 July 2014

Dear Mr Mayers,

Thank you for your e-mail.

However, having read its contents several time I am still unclear about what information you have requested. You may find it helpful to read the guidance published by the information commissioner on their website here: http://ico.org.uk/for_the_public/officia...

It is designed to assist individuals in making their request for information and includes a useful table of 'Do's and 'Don't's for you to bear in mind when phrasing your request to us.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kindest regards,

Sarina Young
Customer Service Co-Ordinator



From: geoff mayers

31 July 2014

Dear Information Request,
How many court cases for an injunction to remove someone's
boat/home from the waterways have been initiated using a Part 8
procedure, which claims that the case is not disputed?
In how many of these have the required documents not been served
requiring a submission to the court within 14 days if there is a
In how many of these cases has the defendant not been informed at
all of the court action?
Either you, or Shoosmiths, will have a record of this.
I hope this is clearer. I would not want to be in breach of

Yours sincerely,

geoff mayers


From: Information Request
Canal & River Trust

19 August 2014

Dear Mr Mayers,

Thank you for clarifying your request for information.

We have now considered your request for:

1. How many court cases for an injunction to remove someone's boat/home from the waterways have been initiated using a Part 8 procedure, which claims that the case is not disputed?

2. In how many of these have the required documents not been served requiring a submission to the court within 14 days if there is a defence?

3. In how many of these cases has the defendant not been informed at all of the court action?

I am writing to let you know that Canal & River Trust does not hold the information you have requested.

Kind regards,

Sarina Young
Customer Service Co-Ordinator

Nigel Moore left an annotation (20 August 2014)

This is sinking to a new low in denial of information.

If this response was not to be considered an outright lie, one would have to believe that BW/CaRT’s legal department have no knowledge of nor records of the legal cases they prepare; that they have no records on what instructions they give their outside solicitors, and that they have no knowledge of nor records of the court papers in their possession.

They certainly DO have the latter, because they publish a selection online on their website. Neither they nor their outside solicitors are able in law to dispose of these records for some years at least.

Under those circumstances, I am struggling to come up with any suggestion as to how to word your request so as to bypass possibly slippery interpretation of “records” or “have” or whatever could enable the answer to be read as anything resembling an honest even if evasive answer.


From: geoff mayers

29 August 2014

Dear Information Request,

So you don't keep important records relating to your use of the
legal process to seize people's boats and make them homeless.
Neither do your, retained, solicitors. That seems very strange,
(actually it's a lie - yet another one) given that you go to great
lengths, and expense, to keep inaccurate records of the boat
movements of all people on the waterways for no good reason other
than to mislead the court in any future court case. You employ boat
checkers and enforcement officers and recruit, so-called,
volunteers from amongst those who think that other people's use of
boats is somehow detrimental to their own use, boat clubs etc., but
you don't have any records of the court process.
There is no such thing as a court action with no accompanying
records. You are lying. You should consider your position and your
I know its common practice to refuse to answer my questions but I
am not the only interested party. Nigel Moore has expressed an
interest and a concern for your integrity. Thank you, Nigel.
Shall we have an internal review , just out of interest ?
And for my records.
I think so. I request an internal review because you are not
providing information that you hold, or is held by your agents, and
is of great importance, and interest, to those who expect
accountability from organisations engaged in enforcement action
against individuals and are a public body, and in your case, also a

Yours sincerely,

geoff mayers


geoff mayers left an annotation (21 September 2014)

While we're waiting, something to read.


Nigel Moore left an annotation (22 September 2014)

According to information published by CaRT on their website, where 22 concluded cases to remove boats are listed, 17 of those were noted [in the attached Court Orders] as being initiated using a Part 8 procedure. I have learnt that another was also, although that info is not in the Court Order.

It is very obvious therefore, that the requested information IS held by them, and the probable answer to your question is that ALL such cases used a Part 8 procedure.


They  refuse to answer many requests for information on the grounds that that are not required to provide that information as they are only, in part, a public body.   This is deliberately evasive and against their stated commitment to openness.  

They are a corrupt organisation.   There is ample evidence of that.  I have provided more evidence.   But many people still treat them as if their authority is reasonable and we just have to put up with their abuses and work round it.   They want to avoid 'confrontation' and choose 'appeasement.  No wonder CRT take no notice and do whatever they like - and think it's funny.

Ducking and diving.  The English way.  

The next step with regard, to the request, is a report to the Information Officer.   As with many requests before.  Further steps in a pointless exercise, just like the complaint procedure and the court process.

File along with 'Write to your MP' and 'Go to the CAB'.  Other steps you will be advised to take in the 'runaround process'.

You could also try the Equality and Human Rights Commission.   I have called them several times in the past.   Without asking what you're calling about they tell you to call Liberty (a voluntary organisation with limited resources.).      When you phone Liberty they say 'we are a voluntary organisation with limited resources' and tell you to phone the Equality and Human Rights Commission, although they do ask you why you are calling.

My barrister is a member of the EHRC which is why I expected a more interesting, and challenging, defence.

We, individuals with no affiliations or the protection of 'minority groups', have no rights.   That's what this account is about.    I am not interested in 'minority rights'. 'Rights' should be accorded to individuals not groups.


Here's a recent example of the 'we don't have to tell you' response to requests in a request about their obligations as a 'charity'.      One, major, reason BW became a 'charity' was to avoid the FOI obligations of a public authority.    They stated that they would, nonetheless, answer requests as a commitment to 'openness'.


From: P Smith

9 October 2014

Dear Canal & River Trust,

Please treat this request for information as a request under the
Freedom of Information Act 2000. Please provide copies of all
audits or assessments carried out by CRT since 1st July 2012 of its
performance in meeting the public benefit requirement of the
Charities Act 2011.

Thank you. I look forward to your reply.

Yours faithfully,

P Smith

Link to this


From: Information Request
Canal & River Trust

10 October 2014

Dear Ms Smith,

Thank you for your e-mail and request we received yesterday, 9th October.

We are reviewing our files to identify information relevant to your request and will respond to you as soon as possible or in any case within twenty working days of receipt of your request.

Kind regards,

Sarina Young
Customer Service Co-Ordinator


From: Information Request
Canal & River Trust

17 October 2014

Dear Ms Smith,

Thank you for your Freedom of Information Act request asking for the Trust’s “copies of all audits or assessments carried out by CRT since 1st July 2012 of its performance in meeting the public benefit requirement of the Charities Act 2011".

The British Waterways Board (Transfer of Functions) Order 2012 (the Transfer Order) amended the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to provide that the Freedom of Information Act 2000 shall apply only to information held by the Trust relating to the statutory powers and duties that were transferred from British Waterways to the Trust by virtue of the Transfer Order.

Only certain of the statutory functions of British Waterways were transferred to the Trust and they are essentially those directly concerning the operation and maintenance of waterways. The generality of the all the other activities of the Trust are exercised by it as a company limited by guarantee outside the public sector and are not dependent on statutory powers. Accordingly, the Trust is not subject to the requirements of the Freedom of Information Act in respect of such activities.

Your request relates to the Trust’s assessment of its performance in meeting the public benefit requirement of the Charities Act 2011. This is unrelated to the statutory functions which were transferred to the Trust by way of the Transfer Order and, as such, it is outside the scope of the Trust’s Freedom of Information Act obligations.

If we haven’t reasonably met your expectations or you believe we may not have acted in accordance with the above legislation you should write in the first instance to Kelly Radley Head of Customer Relations, Canal & River Trust, First Floor North, Station House, 500 Elder Gate, Milton Keynes MK9 1BB or to [email address] outlining your concerns and asking for us to review our response.

Should you remain unsatisfied by the response you receive you are able to contact the Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliffe House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire SK9 5AF www.ico.gov.uk/Global/contact_us.aspx.

Kind regards,

Sarina Young
Customer Service Co-Ordinator


I'm surprised they don't include a 'smiley face' as they're, clearly, laughing their heads off.   They treat us, that's me and you, with contempt.     They do it because they can.   Because nobody stops them and those that try are shunned for being too confrontational unless they moderate and limit their complaint to the point of appeasement.    We know they lie and we know they are corrupt.  We have more than enough evidence.    And they get away with it, also, because some others have an 'agenda' and criticise some things they do but support, and endorse, others.    

That factionalism is another reason why they get away with it and is due to the creation by the, aforementioned, Sally Ash, of the divisive and unlawful (and mind numbingly stupid), concept of 'continuous cruising'.      That is the root of all the endless argument and why I have to sit here writing this, having had my boat stolen, instead of getting on with something interesting or, perhaps, still living on my boat, a historic boat I rebuilt I remind you, whereas that boat has been wilfully destroyed at a cost to public funds, your money, of, probably, over £200,000 pounds.   

And the case is far from over.   Legal action, as they know, is prohibitively expensive (CRT and Shoosmiths run up your costs anyway - again using your money)  so I have to resort to other means of redress.  Exposing their criminality and contempt for people who choose to live on boats - and also contempt for the law and the legal process -was my original intention and is what I'm doing here.

You may get bored with it, you may not 'give a toss', that's up to you.   It doesn't, in any way, affect what I do.                   

 Pearl is advertised for sale by Bates Boatyard.  The information provided does not mention that it had been sunk (several times).   The contact phone number is the number of Commercial Boat Services in Chester.    They, actually, take the boat with a tug and arrange the removal.     The person taking your call knows nothing of the boat.   Does not know that it has been sunk but says she believes it did have some rainwater in it.   She can arrange for you to view the boat, that you have not been told has been sunk, at a boatyard on the Sharpness Canal.     There is a photograph of Pearl taken on the day it was 'seized'.   You can see that is in good order - I've done a lot of work on it in last few years - and you can see that it is afloat.    It's value, particularly given that is a wooden boat with a steel frame and has been looked after, is considerably more than £8000.    Being sunk, due to damage caused by the actions of CRT, it is worth considerably less. 

CRT are misleading people who see the boat advertised into thinking the boat is as seen in the photograph and is in the condition it was in when 'seized'.   They are selling Pearl to recover a  debt.   The 'debt' is, entirely, the cost of the unlawful seizure/theft which damaged and sunk the boat - in the time that it was still, indisputably, in my possession.  They owe me compensation for damage to my boat in their care.   They refuse to acknowledge that, knowing legal action on my part would be costly (as they would ensure), so, as usual, are adopting the attitude of 'What are you going to do about it?'      I'm doing this.  Exposing what they do.       No doubt when my boat is sold, or given away, they will come after me for the money that I don't owe them.   

Meanwhile if you don't 'toe the line' they'll be coming after you.   With increasing confidence due to the majorities'  lack of the will, or the means, to challenge them.   Not  everyone can, for good reason, and doing what I've done is not a wise choice.    But if you can do it you should as the 'evil' their behaviour represents is becoming, increasingly, widespread and accepted as normal.

You/we are all 'vulnerable'.     Legal aid may not be available.  You can't afford to defend yourself - they will 'run up' your costs.   You will be the subject of 'dirty tricks' and the corruption and manipulation of the legal process.   There is always a 'bias' in favour of 'management' and against the individual.      

 The Court is not the right forum to deal with the issues involved in CRT's abuse.   It is more than a question of 'law'.   That's why they won't answer questions or discuss their rules and the law.  They rely on the inadequacy of the legal process and its easy corruptibility by those who specialise in such practice.   They have stated in a re-writing of the rules that they will not discuss the legality of their rules other than in a court.    (Same as the response from the Ombudsman to my lengthy complaint which she, initially, said she was prepared to consider.  The Ombudsman office is not, and never was, independent.    The Ombudsman Committee oversees what they do and decides whether or not they remain in post.     


'The withholding of information is the oil in the machine of tyranny'

I added a further, related, question to the request to which I have yet to receive an answer.   


From: geoff mayers

7 November 2014    

Dear Canal and River TRUST,

I made a request for an internal review on 29th August. You haven't
responded. While we're waiting I'll ask a more specific question.
Did you use the Part 8 procedure, improperly, in the case of George
Ward as well as not notifying him of the hearing? I.e. did you
proceed with an injunction hearing where the court was informed
wrongly - misled - that no defence was offered while also ensuring
that the defendant would not appear?
Also, why do you think it reasonable that you don't answer my
questions? You may have stolen my boat/home, using every trick in
the book and subsequently caused it to sink, but I am still alive -
and kicking. Maybe no-one else cares but you should still - by law
- respond properly to my requests and supply the information that
you hold.

Yours sincerely,

geoff mayers

Link to this


Nigel Moore left an annotation ( 8 November 2014)

The answer to whether they used the 'Part 8' procedure with the George Ward case is yes. It mentions this in the judgment CaRT published -


George Ward was taken to court for an injunction to remove his boat without being informed of the court hearing.   This hearing was a Part 8 hearing i.e. claimed that there was no dispute of facts and no defence offered.  

Initiating a hearing under this procedure requires the provision of an 'Acknowledgement of Service' form to be submitted to the court within 14 days if there is a defence offered.   Shoosmiths/CRT have not provided this form when serving the papers.       

If no defence is filed the defendant cannot offer one at the hearing and is not allowed to speak at the hearing.    The defendant has been misled and the court has been misled.

In this case the defendant was, also, not informed of the hearing.  

Someone made a complaint about this obvious breach of procedure, and  breach of conduct, to the Solicitors Regulation Authority. 

Here is a part of their response:-

      'Shoosmiths are under a duty to follow the instructions given to them by their client (the British Waterways B) and to act in their best interests.  When doing so this will often mean that Shoosmiths act directly contrary to Mr. Ward's best interests.  

Shoosmiths are entitled to pursue an injunction against Mr. Ward on behalf of their client if they consider it in the best interests of their client.   To do so would not amount to a breach of the rules of conduct.   Prior to granting the injunction against Mr. Ward, the Courts considered all the circumstances of the case, presumably they knew that Mr. Ward was unaware of the firm's intentions.  The Courts had no concerns in this regard and they were happy to grant the injunction.   Therefore there is no suggestion that Shoosmiths misled the Court  (which would be a breach of the rules of conduct).'


That's all right then.  Solicitors can do whatever they like if it's in the best interests of their client.  There are no 'rules'.   A person can be taken to court without being informed, so he doesn't appear at the court and the court doesn't know he has not been informed of the hearing, which is under Part 8 procedure where no defence is offered, so the court assumes the defendant is not offering a defence.  

Is that, or is it not , misleading the defendant, with serious consequences, and, also, misleading the Court? 

According to the Solicitors Code of Conduct published by the Solicitors Regulation Authority:-

''You must never deceive or knowingly or recklessly mislead the court or knowingly allow the court to be misled.

You must draw to the court's attention any material procedural irregularity''.



I don't think that, at the time, it was understood that the hearing, as with many, possibly all, others was under the Part 8 procedure.  There was no mention of it in the SRA reply.   That so many cases have been brought with no-one recognising the significance of the use of the Part 8 Procedure indicates how effective the practice is in misleading the defendant.   (July 2016.  More cases since then.  See thread on Andy Wingfield case on Canalworld forum which is, shall we say 'instructive' and informative).  

I have just found some paperwork from my case from when I had a change of counsel and see that for 18 months my case was proceeding as a Part 8 case, which explains further why I was being bullied into offering no defence - which I refused to go along with.  The new barrister applied for the hearing to heard under Part 7 Procedure and there is a 4 page objection to that from Shoosmiths.  So for 18 months, when I had submitted witness statements and other evidence, it appears that no defence was being considered.    I was suspicious that my evidence had not been submitted to a hearing, that was 'mysteriously' cancelled (I later found it had been changed to a telephone hearing) and wrote to the Judge, handing the letter into the Court Office.   I received no reply.  A year or so later I asked someone in the court office about the letter and was told it had not gone to the Judge but was given to my solicitor.

Why would I need a barrister to offer no defence?   

Remember that this account is about what they do and how they get away with it.   And can, equally, be applied to other 'authorities'.   You/we don't stand a chance - and you will be driven round the bend.      That's why this story is important - I think so anyway.   I haven't, yet, related what happened in 2007/2008/2009, which led to the court action, and is about the actual abuse and harassment of people living on boats - particularly in the area of Cheshire where I was mooring - so you only know half the story (if you've read it that is).

As well as having my boat taken - and sunk - I have not had all my possessions returned to me and have had no reply to my emails about it.   As far as I know the woman on the Macclesfield Canal, who was left standing on the towpath - and then disappeared for a while - in November 2013, has had none of her belongings back.   Last I heard she had been sectioned under the Mental Health Act.     Not surprising considering how she was treated.

CRT have now employed a Welfare Officer.    Still harassing and intimidating and threatening people and using legal chicanery to take their boats and make them homeless.  Still refusing to abide by the Equality/Disability Act but they've got a 'Welfare Officer'.   Someone else to stand on the towpath alongside the 'laughing policemen' while another victim who refused to give in to their bullying is made homeless.      


Next:   Latest news November/December  - More FOI requests.