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.    


Witness evidence from Jill Overum in my 'trial'. May 2013.




JILL OVERUM – Affirmed

 MR. MOSS: Miss Overum, I have no questions for you. If you wait there, my learned friend will have some questions.

 A. Right.

 Q. (to the judge) Your Honour, just before I sit down, there are two maps of the location of the boat in the bundle which I thought might be—

 THE JUDGE: One at page 177?

  MR. MOSS: And one at page 107.

 THE JUDGE: They are very small-scale maps these. Right. What do you want to ask, Mr Stark?


 Q. Perhaps I will start off by asking the question I asked the previous witness. Would would you do with a person who was moored on the canal, approached at being there for more than 14 days and said, "My wife’s in hospital with a broken leg"? What would you do?

 A. We may ask for evidence – you know, how long is it going to be.

 Q. All right. So he comes up with the hospital admission sheet, showing that his wife is in hospital with a broken leg and is likely to be there for three weeks.

 A. We would give permission for it because it’s exceptional circumstances.

 Q. What if she had been admitted to a mental; hospital in Chester and was going to be there for six months?

 A. We would try and find a temporary mooring in the area for her; or, as part of her licensing terms and conditions, we can do an extended overcharge.

 Q. An extended overcharge? Does that mean that you would charge the boater some money?

 A. Yeah, if it was appropriate for them to stop where they were; obviously not on a 48-hour visitor mooring, but if it was just on a towpath we may charge them for overstaying in that area.

 Q. How much would you charge them?

 A. £25 a day, possibly.

 Q. For having a wife in hospital? Right.

 NOTE: This person is making decisions about enforcement against boaters. This shows her understanding of basic rules, lack of empathy or understanding, and, overall, mind numbing ignorance which she has exhibited on numerous occasions.  Is this the 'rule'?  It's, apparently, her interpretation. She is the Enforcement Supervisor for the northern half of the waterways.

She is still in her job.


Cross-examined by MR. STARK

 Q. But if they came to you and said, "I’ve got a continuous cruising licence but I am now ill and I can’t continue with my cruise and there is no reasonable prospect of me being able to continue with my cruise," what would you suggest to them?

 A. To look for a mooring in the area.

 Q. To look for a home mooring in the area?

 A. Yeah.

 Q. They have lived on their boat for 25 years, so they have got no other home. Same thing? To look for a mooring in the area?

 A. Yeah.

 Q. How many residential home moorings are there in the area?

 A. Well, it depends which canal they’re on, doesn’t it?

 Q. The Trent and Mersey, how many are there?

 THE JUDGE: She may not be in a position to answer; she has not been prepared for the question. (to the witness) Do you know, roughly? Even roughly.

 A. No, I don’t. There have been moorings available at Croxton Lane and obviously we’ve got some through Ollershaw Lane (moorings) and I would check with the moorings team what was available.

 NOTE: [The moorings at Ollershaw Lane, near where I was moored, were closed to new moorers 5 or 6 years ago. People have applied for moorings there and been refused. I asked for a temporary mooring there, following the judgment, in line with the Judge's instruction to CRT that they give me a licence subject to a negotiated agreement, such as, I get a mooring. They didn't reply to my email and 'seized' my boat despite my protestations that I had complied with the judge's instructions and they had breached their undertaking to the court. Jill Overum may well have made that decision].

 MR. STARK: Can I just ask – because obviously I have not heard of Croxton Land and Ollershaw Lane – are there home moorings, as described in within the meaning of the—

 A. Yeah.

 Q. But do they have planning permission for long term residential use?

 A. Not that I’m aware.

 THE JUDGE: You would not know whether they do or they do not?

 A. No.

 MR. STARK: You are not aware that they have planning permission?

 THE JUDGE: She does not know whether they do or they do not. (to the witness) Certainly you are not in a position to prove that there are any with planning permission.

 A. No.

 Q. Or, indeed, to prove that there are not.

 MR. STARK: Can I assume, from the fact that you referred to those two, that there are no online(?) residential moorings in Trent—

 A. I would check with the moorings team. You know, it depends on where the boater had broke down. I would check with the moorings team.

 Q. Again are you personally aware of whether or not there are any online residential moorings?

 A. I’m not aware.

 Q. If you got someone in that position who comes to you and you say, "Well, find a mooring," and they say, "Well, there are no moorings with planning permission; therefore, if I—"

 THE JUDGE: They would not need planning permission for a wife in hospital or a short term illness.

 MR. STARK: No, I am talking about my long term illness.

 THE JUDGE: You are posing a permanent illness?

 MR. STARK: (to the witness) I am talking about a person who has come to you – "I’ve got a continuous cruising licence and I can no longer do that because I am unwell but I want  to continue living on my boat," and you have said, "Well, you need to find a home mooring," and they say to you, "Well, there are no home moorings with residential planning permission; therefore, if I go there I’ll be subject potentially to being thrown off for breaking the planning laws."

 A. I think Nigel covered that this morning, didn’t he, you know, if we’re not aware there’s people living on their boats? 

Q. But if you are aware – they have just made you aware – they are living on the boat, what could you do?

 A. Well, nothing, I don’t think.

 Q. They would have to leave?

 THE JUDGE: They would have to do it themselves; they would have to find a mooring with planning permission or find a mooring and apply for planning permission.

 A. Yeah.

 MR. STARK: And if they could not find a mooring with planning permission, they would have to get off the canal, is that right?


 A. Yeah.

 Q. It follow inexorably, does it not?

 MR. STARK: British Waterways before, and the Canal & River Trust now—

 THE JUDGE: It is just as if you were living in a caravan and you were stopped at the side of the A5 because your wife was in hospital and you were too ill to drive any further and you were there permanently. You would not be able to stay there. The caravan would have to be moved.

 MR. STARK: It is a slightly different situation from that in the sense that I am right, am I not, that the Canal & River Trust (and British Waterways before it) only have these two types of licence – home mooring and the continuous cruising licence – and there is no half way house between them.

 A. No.

 Q. No matter what your personal circumstances are, no.

 THE JUDGE: Right. Is that it?

 MR. STARK: I think that is probably it.

 THE JUDGE: (to the witness) Thank you.

 MR. STARK: The only other thing that we had better ask is in relation to the knowledge of health.

 THE JUDGE: (to the witness) Did you know of this man’s ill health?

 A. No.

 MR. STARK: Again can I ask the same question about Mrs Sharman? Am I right that you are aware that there had been a complaint but you were not aware of the correspondence which passed?

 A. As far as I was aware, once the complaint had been dealt with – you know, exhaustively through the ombudsman – you know, Mr Mayers welcomed enforcement action.

 THE JUDGE: He wanted you to take him to court?

 MR. STARK: He wanted you to take him to court but that is a different (inaudible). The point is, I am saying to you that you were not aware that he had raised his health in that complaint.

 A. No.

 Q. Finally, have you ever heard of a community mooring permit? Have you heard of that proposal?

 A. No.

 Q. Nothing further.

 MR. MOSS: Your Honour, do you have anything you wish to ask?

 THE JUDGE: No, I do not; I have asked as we have gone along. Thank you very much, and thank you very much for taking on the burden of giving evidence unexpectedly.

 (End of claimant’s witness evidence)

 (The case continued)




Ther have been many complaints against Ms. Overum. In one case, when she was an enforcement officer she issued a notice, for 'overataying' to a boat. The owners disputed it. She was adamant she was right. The owners had got evidence that they had recently gone through the Harecastle Tunnel, where boat names/numbers are recorded. The owners made a complaint. They received an apology and were told Ms. Overum would de sent for 'retraining' and would never work in that area again.

 She was then made supervisor of the whole of the northern area.

 Because, she was doing exactly what BW/CRT wanted. Harassing people by any means and lying about it. There have been lots of similar complaints. I can't possibly provide details of all of them. They mostly go unrecorded. If you complain you will be targetted as I have been. Everybody knows that.

 BW/CRT want unintelligent, and ignorant - in every sense of the word - people who will act without understanding or empathy and not 'engage' with the people they are harassing but say. 'I don't know about that', and 'I'm only doing my job'. And will lie and issue false notices to anyone they like, i.e. don't like, or anyone who challenges them. They can initiate the legal process and pursue their malicious attacks through the court process with using CRT's solicitors, Shoosmiths, and public money and that of licence payers and charitable donations.

 They are, as required, natural liars of limited intelligence and a degree of psychopathy and are 'protected' by BW/CRT in the same way a guard, or 'attack', dog is protected by its owner/controller.

 The difference is they have less training and less excuse, as they are, purportedly, human beings.

 She states that there are moorings at Ollershaw Lane, which is where I was moored. Ms.Waterman said the same. The moorings there, towpath leisure moorings, were closed 5 or 6 years ago. No-one has been given a mooring there since, or anywhere on the towpath in the area. After the Judgment, against me, had been handed down I tried to arrange a mooring, as the Judge had suggested, as a means of remaining on the canal and having my licence reinstated. There were no legitimate moorings in the area so I wrote to request a mooring at Ollershaw Lane, where I had been moored for the 3 and a half years since my licence was revoked and I had been told I could only move for emergencies or to access facilities. My mother was in hospital, in Warrington, requiring me to visit every day and to have a phone signal and an internet signal. I had these where I was moored and I was close, about a mile, to the bus stop.

 I received no reply to my email and was 'violated' by police and bailiffs, refusing to listen to my valid objections and threatening to remove me from my boat with force. It was clear to me that I would be arrested on some false pretext if I offered resistance. My mother had come out of the hospital day before and returned to the care home where she was living in a very anxious state. I could not afford to be arrested. I also had my cat to look after and laptop and paperwork etc. CRT had been informed of my circumstances and, it appears, had taken advantage of the situation.

 They stole my boat, without question, which they, of course, deny. They transported it - a 72ft wooden boat - 125 miles having craned it onto a lorry and then craned it into deep water on the Sharpness Canal. I was not told of this for 6 weeks. I told them if they craned it out they would damage it and it would sink. It, subsequently, sunk.

 Jill Overum was fully involved in all of this and may well have made the decision to take my boat. (I have written to Denise Yelland, Head of Enforcement, to ask who made the decision but have, as yet, received no reply.)

 The police, laughingly, said, when I said there was an undertaking to the court being breached, that there was no mention of it on the court order. This was planned, presumably by Shoosmiths, so they could appear to be acting lawfully when, clearly, they were not but it was up to me to then try to get my boat back with costly legal action. (Shoosmiths like to seize your property with no regard to the law as it creates considerable additional difficulty for you. Especially if it's you home). This was made more difficult by my being told I had to remove my boat from CRT water upon recovery and, also, by damaging my boat and sinking it. 

They also claimed a payment of £12,000+, the cost of stealing, damaging and sinking my boat, - there was no other debt - prior to recovery. (My boat is still at that boatyard more than a year later. I have heard it has been craned out of the water. A historic boat, 'rescued' and rebuilt by me, deliberately 'stolen' and destroyed at a cost of well in excess of £100,000 primarily as a result of the malicious and spiteful actions of women employed by BW/CRT who resent being challenged as to their ignorance).

The enforcement 'arm' of CRT consists, almost entirely, of women. 

(I think this is what the 'sisterhood' regard as 'empowerment'.  Add to this three female solicitors on behalf of Shoosmiths).

The intention, from 2008, was to take my boat by any means.

These people are paid. Some get thousands of pounds a week. Sally Ash, Simon Salem, Denise Yelland and others. They get thousands of pounds pension for the rest of their lives - and their partner's life. Their contribution to the 'common good' is to devise and oversee a programme of persecution that has ruined hundreds of peoples' lives and cost millions. I don't get paid. I have had my boat/home stolen from me for trying to get them to understand that it's wrong to abuse 'vulnerable' people ( which has become anyone on a boat with no 'home mooring'), and wrong to use harassment and, so called, 'enforcement' to enforce unlawful rules and unlawful actions to avoid legal action leading to seizure of your boat, which may be your home.

These transcripts cost £240. I have another that cost £250. My boat is a historic boat that would not be here if I hadn't rebuilt it' I spent all my money on that and have spent most of my 'low' income since then maintaining it. It was a 'way of life' I chose to live. I had various jobs, some pension, some benefit payments, (same as most people in the country, working or otherwise), and lived a 'frugal' life - by choice.

I travelled extensively on a wooden boat that is 72feet long and 7'2" wide at its midpoint.   Some canals cannot be accessed with that length and width.  

I had no problem from the 'authorities' from 1990 to 2007. Whose 'attitude' changed? Who decided to 'attack' people who lived on boats? Who caused hundreds of decent people to leave the canals?

Who destroyed the waterway 'way of life' at a cost of millions of pounds and the destruction of anything that was good about living on a boat and travelling -in a sensible way - around the waterways i.e. not on a never ending progressive journey, not as prescribed by a half wit in an office, Sally Ash, and her 'accomplices' and selfish supporters.

There are lots of obnoxious, antisocial and inconsiderate people on the waterways.    They are not, necessarily, boaters with 'no home mooring'.

Sally Ash and co. made the two categories synonymous causing a 'witch hunt' and 'pogrom' against all boaters who had no need of a 'home mooring' and promoting the belief that not having a home mooring was, in some way, unlawful and an evasion.    It is the behaviour of Sally Ash and co. that was unlawful on several counts.      



Ms. Overum should not be in any position of authority. She is ignorant of everything to do with the world, and the people, she has some authority over. Authority that empowers her to steal people's boats with the backing of CRT and their legal department and Shoosmiths solicitors and by means of the perversion and corruption of a legal process that is, it would appear, very easy to manipulate by experienced practitioners and the cooperation of the police.

 Think about it and make use of it.

 She is still in her job and the abuse is continuing, having been, recently, 'stepped up'.