High Court bailiffs have stunned Camden Council staff by trying to seize their computers.

The council repeatedly failed to pay borough resident Stephen Gethin over £7,700 which it owed him in rent on behalf of tenants on housing benefit staying in his property, HappyVale Hotel*. Gethin sued at the County and then the High Court. The council failed to show up, a judge found in Gethin's favour, and a writ was issued to seize its property or goods.

Which the bailiffs duly enforced, knocking on the door of the town hall and, when staff answered, barging in to seize an assortment of LCD TVs, computers and printers. But before they could cart them away or even break some knees a shocked security guard rushed off and found the council's legal head. A bailiff told reporters that "after some discussion" the council's assistant director of finance handed over a bag containing £7,761 in cash.

    A Camden Council officer after a "discussion" with a bailiff, yesterday

Gethin has received a letter from the Council's solicitors, Judge and Priestly, calling his behaviour "shocking" and his claim "unfounded". It also told Gethin to give the council consent to retrieve the money from the bailiffs. Gethin declined their offer, saying “They didn’t bother to turn up to the court case so they’ve only got themselves to blame. It’s ironic because it’s exactly what they do to other residents who fail to pay their council tax or parking fines on time".

A spokesman for Camden Council said, “We can confirm that on Wednesday a High Court enforcement officer attended the town hall to enforce a county court judgement" and that Camden "is taking legal advice". And not a moment too soon.

*possibly not as happy as it sounds - the council has taken over management after deciding it was in disprepair.
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Anonymous 03 October 14 09:37

"a letter from the Council's solicitors, Judge and Priestly" - ahahahahaha! Says it all, really.