Tag Archives: Medway

Another Bodge

Having the role i have does have many perks, one of which allows me ( and one other here) to mingle with the almighty ones, those being medway Cllrs, over the years we have joined them in celebrating, scrutinising and watching them flap over issues they were desperate not to let out into the public domain. So when things go wrong for cllrs we can pre-empt exactly what will happen, nine times out of ten we have been right!

Back in may this year a few members of our investigation team attended the North Kent Divisional Commanders Awards Ceremony it had been a great night actually especially as we were able to iron out some work issues and also catch up with some old friends such as john burden from Gravesham Borough Council, someone we hold in great esteem. Also in attendance was tracey crouch and Cllr Mike O’Brian, he made it clear during a speech how proud he was of our police officers or [ police offices] as he put it. Interestingly he also referred to the Medway Police and Kent Police separately! Thus inviting questions like;

Do medway have a separate police force?

Of course we know they do not but we thought we would raise it anyway. Cllr Mile O’Brian has always been one to self gratify, looking at Mikes blog you’ll see if there is an opportunity to slip a portrait picture of himself in then he will!

We arent actually to worried about mikes pictures as at least he looks respectable, our concerns lay with the Grain LNG emergency siren that he so proudly took charge of – only to fail quite expectedly!

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We love this picture mike! Its one of those “epic failure moments”.

Of course the special ” we are not legally obliged but we will anyway” approach to erecting this siren was supposed to been seen by the residents as a ” good will ” type gesture from the council, Cllr mike o’brian wanting to make it clear that this is going the extra mile for the residents of grain. Anyone would have thought Cllr O’Brian was counting down to the olympics by the way he publicly announced the opening of the new amazing siren! Unfortunately for mike he forgot to ‘wind it up’ or ‘ put in some batteries’ or what ever you do to make it work!! Upon test day the siren was tested, to our horror it couldnt even be heard in the local school!!!

So for the epic failure Cllr O’Brian we would like to thank you again for your shockingly bad attempt at public safety and congratulate you on making our job easier by publicly making yourself look silly.

Lets hope with all the minds crammed into one room at Gun Wharf that they one day manage to work out a way of purchasing an emergency siren which actually works!!

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Benefit Overpayments [ profit ]

We have been viewing a document recently, this document is from the Audit Sub Committee regarding benefit overpayments. Now before i start i want you to note something;

There have been current local authority members and past members who have jumped on this quick time, they have tried to tell us that we simply do not understand what the document is saying, however i think it is important at this point not to forget a vital point, which ever way you may read this document it still clearly states 2 very disturbing points, in black and white!

You can view the document for yourself HERE

Back to document, we accept that there may be points that we simply do not understand in this document and we would not argue the point however within this document medway council have identified the following;

Ovepayment recovery, in terms of the cost to the council, is not represented solely by the cash collected from claimants or landlords. The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) also allows categories of overpayment for subsidy purposes at varying degrees from 0% to 100% e.g. overpayments as a result of claimant error are reimbursed at 40% in addition to any claimant recovery. It is therefore theoretically possible to make a ‘profit’ from an overpayment.

I would like to draw your attention to the last part of that statement;

” it is therefore theoretically possible to make a ‘profit’ from an overpayment”

personally i find it disturbing that medway council council even identify that.

Another point raised within this document clearly states;

Why we need a policy
It is essential for Medway Council to demonstrate that it carries out administration and recovery of Housing Benefit overpayments efficiently and effectively.
By doing so the Council:-
• reduces losses to Public Funds;
• provides revenue for the Council;
• helps reduce the loss from overpayments;
• deters fraud and error;
• demonstrates the Council’s commitment to accuracy and provision of a quality
service to its customers as outlined in its Benefits Statement of Intent.

Again we see that medway council have clearly stated;

” provides revenue for the council”

Now we can say that yes this could be ambiguous however it does give rise to questions like;

1. If the council were to overpay benefits on a regular basis would this or could this be seen as a profitable income during these difficult times?

I am so outraged that im almost speechless, medway council can claim an overpayment is the claimants fault, overpay the benefit, receive a 40% subsidy and then keep all overpayment recovered! I think this is a total outrage and must be challenged!!

In times where families are bending over backwards to keep roofs above the heads of their families we find the local authorities can still profit from our loss.
We will be looking more indepth into this situation and meanwhile welcome views of those affiliated with this document.

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Medway Council Housing Shambles

We received information regarding some more housing benefit overpayments and with regard to the lack of professionalism medway council representatives display. Medway council are and always have been known to refer residents to their website to gain understanding of the benefits process and application, they have also [in court] made clear that if a resident requires advice they can simply refer again to the website. This is of course a ludicrous suggestion now that we know that the disclaimer on the website clearly states that medway council accept no responsibility for the information held within the website. An advice page which informs you that if you do not follow their procedures you could end up prosecuted in court and on the other hand medway council cannot even assure you that what they are telling you is correct!!!!!!

We look at a recent case of benefit overpayment, before we go into detail i want to make it clear that there are more families who are in employment claiming Housing benefit than their are those unemployed.

Right before i get on my soap box, These overpayments are becoming rather popular with medway council and they are becoming more ridiculous by the day. We have just been viewing a letter sent by medway council to a resident explaining that SHE is responsible for repaying the overpayment HOWEVER if you were to look on the rear of the benefit overpayment notification it quite clearly state’s;

if payment is made to a landlord– the social security administration act 1997 imposes a duty on landlords to notify the council of any changes in circumstances, which may affect the claimants entitlement to benefit”

The strange thing about this is that it also states the follow;

youare responsible for telling us about a change in circumstances”!

Yes, yes silly i know but what did you really expect, but there is a point to this!
The point being if you did go to the medway council website to get advice regarding a change in circumstances they make absolutely no reference to the comment above [also shown in the photo below].

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[please click on picture to enlarge]

seems to us that medway council are relying on the fact that you will not refer to the conditions on the back of the notices.

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TV License Failure

Before i go into detail about this investigation i need to make it known that we had conducted this because of the outright arrogance and lies of a TV licensing ‘officer’ who came to our office. We are NOT encouraging anyone to stop paying their TV license. Failure to pay your TV license could possibly lead to prosecution.

TV Licensing Officer Visit

Well their we were minding our own business and having a briefing about our next case when there was an almighty bang on the office door, mick our senior investigator and former police officer went to the door and opened it. Upon opening the door he was greeted by a TV licensing officer thrusting an ID card into mick’s face.

Due to us having cctv in our office we were able to hear exactly what was said.

Transcript

Key

A = TV Licensing Officer
M= Mick

15:02 HRS

A: Afternoon sir my name is ***** *******, im a TV Licensing officer and ive called today as there is no TV license registered to this address, do you have a TV sir?

M: yes i do i have sony bravia on the wall there, nice isn’t it?

A: yeah very nice, you do know its a criminal offense not to have a television license for your TV don’t you?

M: no [mick lights up a cigarette]

A: Well it is, can i ask why you don’t have a TV license?

M: umm no you cant!

A: no i cant what?

M: no you cant ask!

A: right, sir i think you should listen to what i have to say, its important you understand as you could face a £1000 fine.

M: ok …do you want a cup of tea?

A: no im fine thanks.

M: go on sorry you were saying…….

A: It’s against the law to watch or record TV programmes as they’re being shown on TV without a valid license, you could face a fine and prosecution in court.

M: right whats that got to do with me though?

A: well sir you have told me that you have a TV but no license therefor you are committing a criminal offense!

M: am i? How ?

A: ive just told you how! You dont have a license!

M: i dont need a license, you’ve just told me that! , look is it illegal to OWN a TV without a license?

A: yes

M: what law states its illegal to OWN a tv without a license?

A: sir i dont have time to argue about laws i don’t make them sorry! Sir listen to what I’m about to say because i am giving you a caution.

A GIVES/READS OUT CAUTION

M: who are you cautioning?

A: you

M: who am i?

A: i dont know your name you wont tell me!

M: then how do you know who you are cautioning? Your just going around cautioning anyone now are you?

A: im cautioning you sir, would you care to give me your name?

M: yes sure, im the legal occupier.

A: i understand that but i need your name!

M: why would you need that, every letter you have sent to me is addressed to the legal occupier!

A: ok sir im not going down this road today im far to busy.

M: fine i didnt ask you to knock on my door.

9 DAYS LATER

A: hello sir im here to enquire about your TV license.

M: i dont have one, i told the last chap that!

A: ok fair enough, why havent you got a license?

M: ok lets get this straight shall we, i dont need one because it is only a criminal offense to own a TV which you are watching broadcasted programs on, it is NOT an offense to simply OWN a TV without a license, your man lied to me a took me for a fool. This TV is used solely for CCTV and for watching recordings of evidence that we have acquired.

A: but you still need a license sir!

M: ok look 7 days ago i wrote to your HQ and removed your implied rights of access to my property, this means that you are currently trespassing, also, your last officer lied! He wrote on the form that we have a sony bravia tv, that is not true we infact have a luxor tv, your officer signed a declaration to say he has seen our TV and signed an oath
for use in court, he never came in nor did he see the TV so therefor that is a lie!

A: this is silly!

M: no no its not, you are going round telling people its a criminal offense if they own a tv but have no license when in fact its only an offense when that person is watching broadcasted programs!! Further more your officers are cautioning people without even knowing or establishing who that person is! You know and i know that you have NO lawful right to be here, i also am under NO lawful obligation to speak to you or answer your questions! Further to that you can not prosecute me for a number of reasons:

1. You haven’t established who i am!

2. I have removed your implied rights of access, this means you cannot legally or lawfully come to my front door!

3. Because ive removed those implied rights of access you cannot confirm if i have a TV in my home!

M: so if YOU cant come to my door, and you cannot see a TV and you dont know who i am then how on earth could you go to court and claim i have a television which i watch broadcasted programs on?

A: i will get the office to call you, don’t have time for this!

M: no problem see you later

A: oh before i go i will need your name to take you off of the register.

M: my name isnt on any register, its this address, you can refer to me as the legal occupier like you have done for the last 18 years!

A: right ok, ok bye

M: see you in a while crocodile.

Well there you have it, a war of words maybe? TV licensing officers applying pressure and lying to us!

Just to make it clear……. It is NOT a criminal offense to OWN a TV without a license!!!!

Another successful challange!

UPDATE

We have [this week] received a letter addressed to the legal occupier informing us they will contact us in 2 years time to see if we need a license!!

For the record the TV set is ONLY for CCTV and DVD playback.

Whilst we agree this was rather comical we must remember that there is a serious side to this, being lied to and deceived!

Please share this article where you can.

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Medway council extortion

So how far is to far? In a time when money is on everybody’s lips.

For those of you who follow our investigations you will know that we are currently following the case of a disabled army veteran who is suffering with some horrendous mental health issues. A one time specialist soldier working undercover for the good of our country and at the heart of fighting terrorism is now locked in a battle against Medway Council. The fight started nearly 2 years ago when the veteran helped out a family member at work, for the veteran it was a nice way for him to get out of the house, a place where he worried about staying alone because of his suicidal ideation. The thought of not having to spend time alone was comforting for him. He was told in no uncertain terms that he wouldnt be employed he was also NOT asked for any bank details nor was he given a contract of any sorts. He was there for one reason – to get out of the prison he called home.

At the start of the investigation process the former soldier was told that because he had received money from paid employment he will be prosecuted for benefit fraud, its important to note at this point that the veteran received 4 payments, these were described to him as gratuity payments or simple thank you and to help towards any petrol costs he would have incurred. Also its important to remember that as he was not employed they had no bank details for him. We also need to make clear that the veteran was at the time in his first week of college training to become a chef, put on this course to encourage him to get out an about and help him with his mental health issues. Medway council claim that the veteran although in his first week of learning how to cook at college was infact employed to cook “alone” for over 300 students! A fact that i think we can dismiss rather quickly, especially as the veteran wouldn’t have even been in possession of the minimum qualification of a food safety certificate!!!!

We would also like to add some other interesting points at this stage, during the period where the council claim the veteran was in paid employment, he was actually NOT claiming housing or council tax benefit! Medway council actually picked this case up when the veteran on the advice of the CAB put in a backdated claim for housing benefit. He received a letter asking him if he had been in paid employment in the last 6 months. The veteran then replied saying he had not, after all he was told there was no job for him, no contract, no bank details, no working hours, no set days and so on………

After a short while medway council called the veteran in for an interview under caution explaining that they believed the veteran had made a false statement in order to secure housing benefit. They informed the veteran that he would need to be interview further under caution, the veteran informed medway council that he was under the care of medway mental health and the community psychiatric nurse and also told them he was under the influence of very strong Antipsychotic medication. At this point as written in the police and criminal act medway council should have identified he was a vulnerable person, even if there is no proof at the time it should be halted to seek clarification.

Needless to say this didn’t happen! And are you surprised ? No thought not.

No instead the veteran was interviewed without an appropriate adult and grilled for information whilst on medication, medway council investigator Mr Gary Bootes continued to press for information from the veteran in the hope he would incriminate himself.

After failing to professionally act in accordance with PACE medway council decided they had found the veteran guilty of dishonesty under the social security act, which by the way is merely a statutory instrument given the force of law by the governed and therefor he had not broken the law of the land ie caused harm, loss or injury to anyone.

Medway council insist the veteran has committed a criminal act however they also claim they have the power and authority to deal with “criminal acts” without firstly putting you in front of the courts!! And how ? Simple extortion!

Medway council then decided that unless the veteran paid them money sneakily disguised as a adpen or administrative penalty they would put him in front of the courts, they demanded over £500 on the condition he paid on the day he accepted the offer – this sounds very much like blackmail to us! Give us money or go to prison! Dont forget the veteran had not even been found guilty of any wring doing in court yet!!!!!

It really is a horror story Medway council deciding you have broken the law and then demanding money from you that you do not have and more so from someone who only has a disability allowance as an income!

As you can imagine the veteran had no way at all of paying this absurd amount of money and refused, quite rightly to pay anything as he was still unsure what it is he had done wrong, asking his full time carer to write an email to Medway council asking what can be done to stop this becoming any worse, the veterans mental health is at serious risk at this point with thoughts of prison running through his mind.

They wrote to the council explaining that the pressure of a pending court case was damaging the mental health Further and the result had been more in depth treatment, the representative for medway council then replied stating that the medway council required PROOF that the veteran had a mental disability, further more they required evidence that the disability would have affected the veteran during the period when the so called offense took place. The veteran an his carer managed to get a full psychiatric report for the veteran from the mental health unit at medway maritime hospital, further more an in-depth report from combat stress was also handed to the legal department at Medway council . To there surprise and the surprise of the mental health team and charity supporting the veteran Medway councils legal representative wrote back explaining that the professional reports were not GOOD ENOUGH for HIM !!!! So now medway councils legal team are also doctors!!!

After some time this case is still going through the courts process, all the time the veterans mental health has become worse. It is important that you are all aware that the veteran has almost paid back every penny of this overpayment however medway council refuse to stop proceedings an in stead are trying as hard as they can to blight the record of a man who has given many years of his life in dedication to his country.

We will continue to report on the outcomes of this case but meanwhile we pray Medway council come to there senses and halt simply hunting for a prosecution rather than in the best interests of one of our veterans.

update

12:46pm monday 21st May

We have just been informed that after 2 years of investigating this matter the team of so called fraud investigators who claimed in court that there was no evidence to support the theory that the veteran did indeed suffer from any mental health problems had never even bothered to contact the veterans doctor!! Why a waste of time of public money!! Help us put a stop to this now!!

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The Threats Have Started !

Well it didn’t take long before the threats started to role in!! We expected some serious opposition to our peaceful protest against the methods that Medway unitary authority employs. We have gone to some great lengths to expose the bad operating procedures of Medway Council, many of our findings were volunteered directly to us and i can honestly say i was hoping that these were just one offs for want of a better word. Unfortunately we have found that miss management and poor customer service combined with outright abuse of position is rife amongst the council. We have been fortunate enough to have an insight to medway councils workings by way if an ex employee at management level who has confirmed almost all if our findings. Now not everyone who works at medway council is corrupt and that would be wring to imply that however they do seem to lead the way in misinformation.

We had recently received an email which contained around 40 email correspondence between a resident and an officer of medway council, we ourselves looked through the documents and were horrified at the extent if un truths that are stated within the emails. We promptly acted upon these emails by taking them to the CAB who needless to say were equally shocked and disgraced by what was written within them.

Following this we were shown some housing benefit documents which had been received by the claimant, these documents as you are aware should be straight forward and easy to follow because lets not forget YOU are responsible for your housing benefit account. I t clear that Medway council have tried to make these documents as difficult as possible to read and understand, further more they fail to include the method of calculation used in the assessment. Shockingly the claimant received 68 sheets of paper all if which were different calculations and amounts for her housing benefit !!! Worse still there was a difference of nearly £173 in amounts across the board. If thats not bad enough the claimant had not even had a change of circumstances. The claimant made contact with Medway Council who instructed her to throw them all away as none were accurate!!!!

Shame on you medway unitary authority!

More to come today, don’t forget to spread the word and start sharing the blog. We have some VERY interesting revelations to come.

If you have anything for us to investigate please email Bailiffchaser@lawyer.com

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Medway Council In Bed With The Bailiff

We have spent a great deal of time looking into the bailiff / medway council relationship including freedom of information requests which have been sent by various residents. We were also invited to attend the property of a resident in chatham medway who had been due a visit from the bailiff company who currently collects medway councils council tax, this company being the infamous “rundle and co”.

We took the opportunity to be present at the address when rundles paid their visit, my husband and i were needless to say shocked at the approach of the bailiff. It is evident that bailiffs especially those employed by rundles feel they have a god given right to squash you upon request of medway council. I just want to take you back to a freedom if information request that we found by a gentleman called Dean Lacey. Please take alook below;
Dear Mr Lacey,

Request for Information Reference Number: RFI/4555

Thank you for your request for information which we received on 22 July
2011.

The information you have requested is as follows:

1. Does the current bailiff company instructed by Medway Council to
recover debts, buy council tax debts from Medway council ? No

2. If yes: is the entire debt brought from the council by the current
bailiff company ? N/A

3. Does Medway Council issue their own court summons for non payment of
council tax? No, only the court can issue a summons. However, Medway
Council prints the summons on behalf of the court and presents them to the
clerk of the court for approval. Once the clerk is satisfied with them he
returns them to the council for posting.

4. Does Medway Council hire court rooms and conduct mass hearings ? No

If you are unhappy with the information we have provided or wish to
complain about any other issue regarding the Freedom of Information Act
2000 please see the attached handout `Request for Information Complaints
Procedures’.

For further information on the Freedom of Information 2000, the exemptions
and how requests are dealt with, you can log onto the Medway Council
website at http://www.medway.gov.uk/freedomofinformation.

Yours sincerely.

Jon Poulson

Jon Poulson IRRV (Hons)

Revenues and Benefits Contract Manager

Business Support Department

Medway Council

Gun Wharf

Chatham

Kent

ME4 4TR

Tel No 01634 333700

E-mail [email address]

show quoted sections

To view the FOI please click Here

So i take from this FOI request that rundles bailiffs DO NOT buy debts from Medway council, i want to know why the bailiff felt the need to lie to the resident and my husband and i?

We tried to reason with the bailiff and i must say he was very ignorant. We asked the following questions to the bailiff;

Why have medway council sent you?

Answer: medway council sold us a debt , we own the debt now and are here to get the money!

Are you here to collect council tax?

Answer: no I’m here to collect unpaid parking fine from february 2012, you have to pay it today otherwise the police will be called an we will have you arrested.

If i pay the money to the council direct does that mean you will go away ?

Answer: NO i will still need to come and collect my fees we are not a charity!!

Why didn’t you just send me a letter?

Answer: because i have to levy on your property!!

Do i have to let you in then ??

Answer: if you don’t let me in i will call the police and then force entry into your property!

Seriously ! All for a parking fine! How ridiculous, little did mr rundles know that my husband who is a former police officer recorded everything and then promptly put him in his place. Being very upset about the threats the rundles bailiff made we thought we would enlighten you so that you can arm yourself against these bullying bailiffs.

1. Bailiffs have no power of entry unless they have a court order.

2. You can simply remove the “implied rights if access” to any bailiff in writing if they become a pain. ( this will be explained in the next article)

3. Bailiffs are not allowed to attend your property simply to collect their fees!!

4. If a bailiff attends your property you are NOT obliged to speak to them or let them into your property unless they have a court order and they are court bailiffs.

5. If the bailiff is demanding money from you for a non priority debt insist in seeing a signed contract (original) between YOU and the Bailiff company, you and i both know they cannot produce a contract hence they have NO lawful authority over you and cannot force you to pay. Instead only deal with the creditor. Always try to pay your debts and never refuse to pay but insist on it being done correctly.

6. Simply refuse to deal with bailiffs, your not breaking the law by refusing to talk.

7. Always take the time to view how much bailiffs charges are concerning visits and levy, these are in the public domain and readily available to view. By doing this you can see if the charges are fair or if they have been inflated.

8. Most bailiffs threaten you with the police, don’t be worried, the police CANNOT enforce a commercial debt instead they simply attend to ensure there is no breech of the peace, dont be pressured into allowing a bailiff into your home because the police are present. If you feel the police are siding with the bailiff and dont know what to do, CALL THE POLICE!

Finally the last word, we have learnt that medway council “claim” they do not sell debts to rundles, we also know that rudles claim that medway council sell debts to them! The moral of the story i that you simply cannot trust either Medway council or rundle and co bailiffs.

Mythology

They cannot break into your home without permission from a magistrate. Section 9 of the Theft Act 1968
They must carry their bailiffs certificate on them. Clause 1.47 of Appendix G of the HMCTS Enforcement Services Contract
Section 27 of the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 is nothing to do enabling bailiffs to use violence against defendants. It requires the person to complete a Search and Entry course. Clause 6.12 of the Enforcement Services Contract.
Bailiffs are still liable for criminal damage and common assault. Section 39 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988.
Form 4 complainants have NEVER been ordered to pay the legal costs of a bailiff. Freedom of Information Act request from HMCTS, February 2012
Bailiffs send demands in the post adding hundreds of pounds in fees before making a visit – the defendant has no legal obligation to pay them. Section 76 of the Magistrates Courts Act 1980.
Bailiffs cannot lawfully interfere with the locks of your property, or threaten to have a locksmith do so, or take any goods in your absence:Khazanchi & Another v Faircharm Investments Ltd & Others [1998] EWCA Civ 471

Protect yourself, protect your property and above all protect the rights our fore fathers have fought to secure for us.

GOT A STORY? Let us know

Or if you need urgent advice regarding bailiffs please contact us at;

Bailiffchaser@lawyer.com

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Medway council benefit fraud

We are rather shocked to learn that a number of convicted benefit fraudsters who have stolen more than £30,000 in false claims have been given 45 years to repay the money!

Shocking as it seems we think that this actually highlights the fact that medway council are more concerned with getting a conviction rather than clawing back the money.

Take a look for yourself HERE

If you have a story about the corrupt medway council then why not get in touch so we can investigate!!

Until next time ………

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Medway council “take no prisoners”

We have been following a report regarding the disgraceful way medway council and its legal dept have been pursuing a former soldier suffering from well documented mental health issues resulting from service to his country. Today i will outline briefly the case however we are preparing the text to inform everyone of the full disgraceful facts that go with this case.

A former soldier from medway who has been battling combat related post traumatic stress dissorder, social anxiety disorder and clinical depression has been forced to stand trail accused of benefit fraud. However straight forward this case must seem there are in fact some very serious concerns about the way the investigation has been handled. Along with these concerns a number of agencies have expressed their support for the veteran as it has emerged that medway council Who were fully aware of the soldiers mental health condition had ignored there guidelines and indeed the instructions if the Police and criminal evidence act. It has emerged that the veteran had been under the influence of his very strong medication, so much so the veteran does not remember the interviews taking place. Medway council investigators ignored SOPs and refused to accept that the veteran needed or indeed required a “responsible adult” to be present.

The veteran who we will not name at this point has supplied evidence to medway council and namely the legal representative Mr Alan Conroy, however this medical evidence (which we have viewed) has been brushed under the carpet by the legal representative.

Today we bring you this case to make you aware however we will be publishing the full interview and all relevant information to demonstrate the disgusting lengths Medway council will go to in order to prosecute.

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