Trust attempts to recover £76k from man
6:00pm Wednesday 21st August 2013 in Latest News
A disabled boat owner who lives on the Kennet and Avon Canal could face losing his home because of a £76,000 claim for court costs.
George Ward, 52, who stays between Devizes and the Dundas Aqueduct, has been involved in a legal dispute with the Canal and River Trust, which took over from British Waterways, since 2010 after he was unable to get a boat safety certificate in time to re-licence the vehicle he lives in.
CRT served an order on him based on Section 8 of the British Waterways Act, which entitles it to remove an unlicensed boat from the waterway.
Bristol County Court granted this but it was later cancelled because Mr Ward sold the boat, using the proceeds to repair a second motor boat. Mr Ward tried to licence two boats not subject to Section 8 proceedings, but British Waterways returned his cheques.
Mr Ward said: “This is harassment; they are trying to put psychological pressure on me so that I move off the canals. They won’t succeed.”
Mr Ward has been unable to work since 1996 after a battery blew up in his face while he was repairing a lorry, causing loss of vision in his right eye. He lives on incapacity benefit and disability living allowance of £102 per week. His only asset is his home; a pair of boats he bought for £3,830.
Mr Ward said: “CRT’s move to take over £76,000 from me that they know I don’t have is vindictive and malicious. They are determined to hound me off the waterways.”
A CRT spokesman said: “We have encouraged him to licence and abide by the terms and conditions of a licence. In the end we had to escalate proceedings and ask a judge to make an independent judgment about the removal of his boat from our waterways.
“We are seeking judgment to recover the extensive costs that George Ward has prevented from being spent on looking after the waterways.
“We haven’t issued any instruction to bankrupt Mr Ward however until he pays the debt, we may understandably not be willing to grant him a licence.”
Comments are closed on this article.