Seized boats reclaimed by owners

geoff mayers made this Freedom of Information request to Canal & River Trust

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was successful.

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

Information Request, Canal & River Trust

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
Canal & River Trust | The Kiln | Mather Road | Newark | NG24 1FB | Tel 01636 675 740 | [mobile number]
Follow the Canal & River Trust’s Customer Service team on Twitter http://twitter.com/CRTContactUs
Please visit our website to find out more about the Canal & River Trust and download our ‘Shaping our Future’ document on the About Us page.

show quoted sections

Mike Wells left an annotation ()

Can you contact me please Geoff?

mikexwells@yahoo.com

Thanks

M

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

geoff mayers left an annotation ()

Mike Wells

Can't access your email address.
Mine is geoffmayers@hotmail.co.uk

Geoff

Information Request, Canal & River Trust

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

Canal & River Trust  |  The Kiln  |  Mather Road  |  Newark  |  NG24 1FB 
| Tel 01636 675 740 | [mobile number]

Follow the Canal & River Trust’s Customer Service team on Twitter
http://twitter.com/CRTContactUs 

Please visit our website to find out more about the Canal & River Trust
and download our ‘Shaping our Future’ document on the About Us page.

 

show quoted sections

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 ()

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 resolve 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 ()

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.

You could PM me via 'canalworld' if you wish.

Dear Information Request,

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

Yours sincerely,

geoff mayers

Dear Canal & River Trust,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

Reason for request - you haven't answered my questions.

I am writing to request an internal review of Canal & River Trust's handling of my FOI request 'Seized boats reclaimed by owners'.

It's a simple request and you do have the information. Your refusal to answer questions unless forced to is tiresome and unprofessional. Your refusal to deal with any issue without recourse to the court illustrates your arrogance and your contempt for your 'customers'. But that's well illustrated in everything you do anyway.

(Do I hear water running off a duck's back?)

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/s...

Yours faithfully,

geoff mayers

Information Request, Canal & River Trust

Dear Mr Mayers,

 

I am very sorry for the delay in replying to your information request,
this was partly due to staff illness and partly due to having to retrieve
original files from archives.  Please accept my apologies for not keeping
you informed while we located the information.

 

You questions were:

 

‘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?

In response to your questions, I can confirm:

 

We only publish court Orders following a boat removal and so all nine
boats would have been removed from our waterways.

 

Five of the boats were transported over 100 miles. As well as
transportation costs, all the boat removals incurred costs for CRT staff
time and for two of them it was also necessary to incur baliffs’ costs.

 

Tort’s notices were issued in the case of two boats because the owners had
not already come forward to pay our removal costs in order to reclaim
their boats after they were removed. The Tort’s notices contain standard
wording and do contain the phrase you have quoted. However, the issuing of
a Tort’s notice does not necessarily mean that either the original boater
or a new owner cannot apply for a licence from CRT and in fact three of
the nine boats have been re-licensed by us.

 

Once again, please accept my apologies for the late response, which was
unavoidable, and for not keeping you informed.

 

Yours sincerely,

 

 

Kelly Radley

Internal communications & customer services manager

Direct line: 01908 351858

[mobile number]

 

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Canal & River Trust is a new charity entrusted with the care of 2,000
miles of waterways in England and Wales. Get involved, join us - Visit /
Donate / Volunteer at www.canalrivertrust.org.uk - Sign up for our
newsletter at www.canalrivertrust.org.uk/newsletter

Canal & River Trust is a charitable company limited by guarantee
registered in England & Wales with company number 7807276 and charity
number 1146792. Registered office address First Floor North, Station
House, 500 Elder Gate, Milton Keynes MK9 1BB.

Elusen newydd yw Glandŵr Cymru sy’n gofalu am 2,000 o filltiroedd o
ddyfrffyrdd yng Nghymru a Lloegr. Cymerwch ran, ymunwch â ni - Ewch i
Rhoddion a Gwirfoddoli yn www.glandwrcymru.org.uk

Mae Glandŵr Cymru yn gwmni cyfyngedig drwy warant a gofrestrwyd yng
Nghymru a Lloegr gyda rhif cwmni 7807276 a rhif elusen gofrestredig
1146792. Swyddfa gofrestredig: First Floor North, Station House, 500 Elder
Gate, Milton Keynes MK9 1BB.

Dear Information Request,

Thank you for your reply.
For clarification, does the demand that the boat be removed from the waterways upon recovery mean what it says or does it mean 'must be removed from the waterway unless you apply for a licence'.
That appears to be what you are saying but is not clear from the actual statement and nobody told me that that was the case.

Also, in any of these cases was there a debt other than that acquired by the costs of removal and transportation of the boat?

Yours sincerely,

geoff mayers

Information Request, Canal & River Trust

Dear Mr Mayers,

Thank you for your email, which I received on Monday 20th April. For clarity I have replied to each of your points in order below:

1. "For clarification, does the demand that the boat be removed from the waterways upon recovery mean what it says or does it mean 'must be removed from the waterway unless you apply for a licence'."

In such cases, the boat must be removed from the waterway, unless we agree otherwise because we would usually have gone through an expensive and time consuming court process (if we have gone through the liveaboard process) to get a court Order, and that Order usually includes an injunction preventing the boat from coming back onto our waterways. Therefore, before we would allow a boat to come back onto our waterways we would need to properly consider all of the circumstances and it is not the case that a licence would simply be granted if someone applies for one .

2. "Also, in any of these cases was there a debt other than that acquired by the costs of removal and transportation of the boat?"

Without going into the specific details of these cases, it is possible that there may be other debts such as: historic licence fees, court costs or other charges - for example late payment fees, overstay charges, mooring arrears etc.

Kind regards,

Sarina Young
Customer Service Co-Ordinator
Canal & River Trust | The Kiln | Mather Road | Newark | NG24 1FB | Tel 01636 675 740 | [mobile number]
Follow the Canal & River Trust’s Customer Service team on Twitter http://twitter.com/CRTContactUs
Please visit our website to find out more about the Canal & River Trust and download our ‘Shaping our Future’ document on the About Us page.

show quoted sections

Nigel Moore left an annotation ()

There are two points of interest from this response, which illustrates inconsistency. The authority is NOT entitled to refuse a new licence for any reason other than those listed in the 1995 Act, yet here they claim to be able to do so, where in other places they acknowledge this to be untrue.

The second point of interest is the ambiguity [deliberate or otherwise] of the response regarding additional debts. The question itself could have been more specific of course – of course in many cases there will be “other debts such as: historic licence fees, court costs or other charges - for example late payment fees, overstay charges, mooring arrears etc.” In context, the question should have been raised whether those extraneous debts can be recovered as a condition of returning seized boats.

Historically BW and CaRT have insisted that too, be paid prior to release of the boat, which I suspect was the burden of this enquiry, but as belatedly admitted in the current Ravenscroft case, this is ultra vires.