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.    

What have the Canal and River Trust done with my boat?

Where is my boat?

Next day I got a lift to my sister's, 8 miles away, which was near to where my mother was living in sheltered accommodation.   My sister was still away but there was a caravan in the garden that I had access to.   I had to visit my mother as soon as possible, as if nothing had happened, She could not know what had happened as she was still in a very weak state and could not have the worry of the disgusting violation of my life I had been subjected to.   Her wellbeing was my main priority.

Subsequently, I enquired as to where my boat was as someone had seen it on the back of a lorry.  I phoned Paul Griffin, Head of Enforcement.    He wouldn't tell me where it was.  He said I could have my possessions returned when I had somewhere to deliver them to.   A bit of a problem when you have been made homeless.

I wrote asking for an explanation of why they had taken my boat and received the usual reply of, 'You comments have been noted but not agreed.'   I.e. we will not answer your questions.   Just as in Freedom of Information requests they trot out the same 'we don't have to tell you' mantra in response to anything they can't, or won't, answer.  (Their refusal to answer my questions led to the court action).

I arranged to have my stuff delivered to a lock up.  In the meantime I had to spend a lot of money on clothes and other necessities for daily living.   Taking your boat/home is always the preferred outcome, regardless even of an undertaking to the court, and not, as they claim, 'the last resort', as it causes maximum distress and inconvenience.    They would hope that they have also deprived you of your paperwork, which would probably be 'lost'.  

Eventually some of my stuff was delivered in a van that was not large enough for all of it so I had to arrange another delivery.  This was delayed until 6 weeks after they had taken my boat.  This was so that they could give me a Tort notice telling me where my boat was and what was their claim upon it.   It was claimed in the notice that I hadn't contacted them for 6 weeks, clearly untrue, so that, apparently, under the Interference with the Sale of Goods Act they could take possession of my boat after a certain time and then dispose of it.  I am told this is a misuse of that act.   (NOTE:   Actually, they can't take possession of the boat but can offer it for sale after so many weeks).

My boat had been craned out of the water onto a low loader and transported about 125 miles to Saul Junction on the Sharpness Canal then craned back in the water.  I told them that if they craned out my boat it would be damaged.   It had not been 'removed from CRT water' as was the 'relief' sought, it had been taken, unnecessarily 125 miles to create a debt (there was ,otherwise, no debt) and to make it difficult for me to get it back.

Having been craned twice and replaced in the water with no-one on the boat to deal with, as far as possible, inevitable leaks I knew it would, almost certainly, sink.  In their notice they said that if I got my boat back I had to, again, remove it from CRT water. Further proof, if needed, that they had no intention of letting me recover my boat and had stolen it with malicious intent.

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