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Bad smells in Ilkeston - episode 1


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Some think the law is only for others

Our correspondent writes:

This is a story about a man who continually flouts the law. He seems to think the law does not apply to him and he is helped in this respect by people who should be enforcing the regulations but allow him to get away with his misdemeanours. However, our wrongdoer is a rich man and his money may, in the past, have bought him some favours. If so, this may explain why he is not made to obey the law.

Then, one day he pushes his luck too far and finds he has several adversaries who are determined to put a stop to his activities. They decide to expose him by publishing an account of his misdeeds.

At first he tries to ignore it. After all, he is rich and he no longer shares the same social status as those who now oppose him. The days of working from the back of his van are long gone. He has moved on and now has his own company employing quite a number of people. He networks in the right circles and gets contracts from major national companies. He sees himself as a big important man. Consequently, he is not prepared to suffer from the activities of those who oppose him because they are beneath him. He forgets that, before his personal fortunes increased, he used to be just like them. But that doesn't count. Some of them are becoming a thorn in his side. Not to worry ... he has friends in high places who can soon put these people in their place. If he makes a few random allegations, his friends will soon be on the case.

Unfortunately for him, some of his opponents are made of sterner stuff. They realise that the minute you give in to a bully, your cause is lost. But most bullies are cowards and it shows as soon as you square up to them because they won't come out and face you. They resort to dirty tricks.

In this case, the dirty tricks are initially carried out by officers of the local council and the police. Later on they are members of the legal profession who are keen to earn big money from this man who regularly flouts the law; and they are going to use the law to hit back at his adversaries. They will do everything in their power to suppress the truth.

Good plot for a novel? You might think so but we are talking about a real life incident. It started around 2006 and, despite the fact that three learned judges made their decision at the High Court in July 2011, it's still ongoing thanks to a firm of solicitors who are determined to abuse the legal processes. Worst of all, it's happening right here in the United Kingdom; the nation where honesty and truth used to prevail. How times have changed.

If you want to understand why it's not only corruption that leaves a bad smell in the nostrils, read on ...

The story in a nutshell

In October 2007, we received a report from a lady in Ilkeston who had a serious grievance against her industrial neighbour. We shall call her DC.

The company in question, Rayden Engineering Ltd, had seemingly taken illegal possession of a triangular plot of land behind her house. They fenced it off with an 8-foot high steel barrier, destroyed and removed the existing trees and vegetation and then covered the plot with compacted hardcore. In doing so, they reduced the effectiveness of what had previously been a soak-away for a recognised high risk flood plain and, by removing all the vegetation, they also destroyed nature's way of absorbing pollutants. And by moving heavy vehicles and lifting equipment onto this land, it is also quite likely that the drainage culvert to the river was damaged or destroyed.

When heavy rains struck in June 2007, the water accumulated on the converted land and finally overspilled, flooding through the ground floors of 15 adjacent houses, including our correspondent's.

Severn Trent Water have suggested the culvert from Rayden's land to the River Erewash could be fractured but no checks have actually been made. In normal circumstances, excess water from the land should drain into the river but during high river levels a flap valve on the river bank closes to prevent water flooding back through the culvert on to the land. But since the contours of the flood plain had been altered, and the porosity destroyed by layers of hardcore, the waters took the only remaining route - through the residential houses.

DC had warned this might happen and she had done everything in her power to get Erewash Borough Council, the Environment Agency and Derbyshire Police to act responsibly and enforce legislation which would have stopped this happening. But when it came to the crunch, although the authorities sometimes made the right noises, they actually did nothing. They effectively let Rayden Engineering get away with flouting the law.

DC decided her only remaining option was to go public. She wrote to several campaigning websites she found on the internet telling her story in full. We were one of the websites she contacted. As we stated earlier, this was in October 2007.

There were several points that aroused our interest:

  1. We were concerned that as flooding becomes more widespread and frequent the consequences make it virtually impossible for householders to insure against future losses. We don't hold with the current climate change rubbish but we do notice that local authorities constantly allow developers to build on established flood plains. We believe itt cannot be right to cover flood plains with concrete and expose householders to the inevitable damage that will occur during times of excessive rainfall. Click here to read a Daily Mail article published in May 2008.
  2. We take the view that corruption is rife in most (if not all) local authorities. It is common knowledge that officers and councillors take backhanders in return for favours and the injustices are usually exposed when those who refuse to pay for favours are made to suffer by having the rulebook thrown at them -  the same rulebook that is ignored for those who contribute financial inducements.
  3. Our curiosity is naturally aroused when we recognise a clique operating - a situation that becomes obvious when members of the same organisation pull strings for each other yet victimise those who are not members of their club. When laws are ignored for members but used against non-members we feel this should be exposed.

Having made certain independent enquiries which confirmed most of the information supplied by DC, we decided it was in the public interest to publish DC's letter and we did so on 4th March 2008, five months after we received the original email. The published page is contained in this PDF which is the same document we sent to DC advising that we had accepted her report.

During our investigations, we discovered that DC's story had already been published on the Rotten Borough website so the material was already in the public domain. This page from the Web Archive Organisation's WayBackMachine shows that it was published on or before 9th November 2007 - almost four months before our own publication and the date is verified on the PDF version of the page. The link from Rotten Borough's home page is shown on page 2 and the original content starts on page 8.

By the time we published, DC had already launched her own website so that others could see how badly victims could suffer from the uncaring attitudes of bureaucrats and their associates. DC's site provided plenty of evidence - both documented and filmed - that she was absolutely right to expose the culprits.

Click here to read the article we published.

Everything went well. In the first month - March 2008 - our traffic reports showed that the new page was visited by 117 people. In April it attracted further attention including visits from 28 people who searched for 'Rayden Engineering' and 6 who searched for 'Erewash Borough Council'.

We did not run any reports for May, June or July but at 14:35 on 22nd August and at 11:55 on 26th August 2008 we had visits from someone using a server bearing Rayden's name.  At 15:54 on 26th August we had a visit from the server identified as belonging to Rayden's solicitors - Berryman Shacklock. This proves that someone at Rayden Engineering knew about the content on our website ten months before any approach was made to us about it. And since the visit by Berryman's was made only four hours after Rayden's second visit, it is clear Richard Hayden did not waste too much time before contacting his solicitor.

Click here to read the next episode - "the legal threats start"


"Many men stumble across the truth ... but most manage to pick themselves up and continue as if nothing had happened."

Winston S Churchill


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