Steven McCarron, Chairman, Worcestershire Commons Association writes to Mr David Shaw, Chief Constable, West Mercia Police, PO Box 55, Worcester WR3 8SP
"If our members, or members of the public, myself or others are detained, arrested, have their human rights curtailed whilst carrying out lawful and legitimate actions to restore Hartlebury Common, unless the prosecuting parties can provide the documentary evidence which has so far been elusive, the arresting parties will be guilty of aiding and abetting crimes, false arrest and false imprisonment."
Read Steven McCarron's letter below.
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Mr David Shaw,
West Mercia Police,
PO Box 55,
Worcester WR3 8SP
Dear Mr Shaw
As you may be aware, we at Worcestershire Commons Association have been opposed to the works being carried out at Hartlebury Common. Worcestershire County Council (WCC) and others have made statements to the public that the common is owned by WCC subject to one or all of the following three statements . . .
a/ A conveyance document apparently showing the sale of the land of Hartlebury common, by the Church Commissioners to WCC. This document is NOT an epitome of title and is as relevant as a bus pass. The church CANNOT be lords of the Manor and there is no evidence to support any of the claims therein. It is a product of fiction and simply conveys an entitlement for mineral extraction from the church as commoners to the council.
The only judgment made on this document was made by Mr Justice Khan sitting at Kidderminster County Court on 6 July 2011. His pronouncement that “ I am not an expert in these matters but I am satisfied that this document shows the council do own Hartlebury Common” was hardly compelling evidence or conclusive. We have contacted the Church Commissioners in London where they DO NOT have any record of ownership of Hartlebury Common.
b/ A land registry document showing the council as owners is not a conclusive or acceptable item. It is possible for anybody to obtain this documentation for somebody else’s property. It is only when propriety is executed, disclosure is required and then an epitome of titles and pre-registration of titles is required. This is what would stop me assuming rights of ownership over another’s property such as yours.
c/ Permission by the Secretary of State, so as to facilitate funding from the EU. This funding is subsequent to the legal ownership of Hartlebury Common. The ownership of Hartlebury Common was not subject to scrutiny at the enquiry and therefore due diligence was not observed by either the Secretary of State’s representative or WCC.
We understand that Hartlebury Common is not owned by WCC and that therefore a number of criminal offences have and are being committed,. With little or no support from our constabulary, we have had to be pro-active in our opposition. This is a common manifestation subsequent to public miscarriages until resolution.
I am subject to an injunction preventing me from visiting Hartlebury Common when I believe that Worcestershire County Council do not own Hartlebury Common. Six months ago, myself and others removed fencing as a direct challenge to the council to disclose. We have never answered to, or been accused of committing a criminal act even though the fencing cost £4000 to re-instate. WCC, at an injunction hearing subsequently, merely sought to recover this cost. We were given 14 days to pay and we replied that we would not ever. To date, we have had not as much as a letter requesting payment. Why? Because to pursue the claim we would make sure that a criminal court would have to deal with us. We would then ask for proof of ownership as this is the false claim of WCC. If they cannot prove ownership, then our actions are validated. The council have gone to great lengths to conceal their non ownership as we are taking great lengths to expose this corrupt policy. I state again, It is NOT for the public to determine the ownership of Hartlebury Common but for WCC to publicly address these issues if only for reasons of clarity.
To put this in context, if I was to damage a bus shelter, the police would arrest me, I would be charged with criminal damage, I would subsequently have to appear in a criminal court, I would be fined and costs levied. If I contested ownership of the bus shelter, I would be dismissed. With reference to our removal of the fencing, None of this has happened and never will.
This document has been disseminated widely and let me state here and once and for all, fraud and misrepresentation are serious offences. It has been suggested to us that WCC employ the police without observing due diligence as to the validity of their own authority, so therefore this document disseminated to all is a timely notice of caution to all parties.
Before I or our members, or members of the public are again impeded in our rightful and lawful obligations to remove and prevent the illegitimate works to Hartlebury common, relevant bodies should consider the following . . .
Persons having already been subject to inappropriate actions on behalf of or at the bequest of and carried out by the police in the name of the law and representing WCC should note that it must be established that laws are being broken. It should be established that WCC have proper ownership and cannot any longer profess to unknowingly discharge their responsibilities due to ignorance of this subject but also the police cannot continue their actions in a similar fashion.
Both parties should be aware that they must observe due diligence in their conviction of prosecution, it is not for us to prove or disprove WCC’s good title but for WCC to affirm this to prevent the following:-
For instance, a member of the public made a complaint about a threat to discharge a firearm at Hartlebury Common. This threat was made by the farmer, Adrian Bytom, in the presence of Martin Barnett, a WCC employee. They both stated the farmer’s entitlement and were very certain of this. Subsequently in interview by a police officer, the complainant was told that since Hartlebury Common was owned by WCC evidenced by a Land Registry document that a very serious offence of threatening to discharge a weapon in a public space had not taken place. The police officer should not have relied on evidence from WCC and as part of a criminal investigation should have discharged his responsibilities professionally.
If our members, or members of the public, myself or others are detained, arrested, have their human rights curtailed whilst carrying out lawful and legitimate actions to restore Hartlebury Common, unless the prosecuting parties can provide the documentary evidence which has so far been elusive, the arresting parties will be guilty of aiding and abetting crimes, false arrest and false imprisonment. Beyond the date of this letter, without honest disclosure WCC will be guilty of fraud , misrepresentation and behaviour not conducive to public office. We will have no hesitation in seeking legal redress and will launch a counter action for damages. This is not a threat but a statement of intent and fact should the situation arise.
This letter suggests that, the police will be guilty of collusion and dereliction of duty and also aiding and abetting a criminal act should they ignore its contents and not carry out their responsibilities in making a proper investigation of evidence pertaining to this issue.
We received guidance that, under Section 41 of the 2006 Commons Act, we needed to make an application before the courts that WCC were ordered to remove fencing and other works and this was rejected.
Hartlebury Common’s status, as shared by similar open spaces, is that of a neutral open space, free from interference and so called management. There has been no significant management for over 100 years on Hartlebury Common.
The definition of a common is that no one person can claim ownership or change its appearance or character to affect lesser enjoyment by any other person. Therefore at Hartlebury, WCC have assumed rights of ownership to which they have none. This is the criminal definition of theft. Criminal acts are defined as the illegal enclosure (Edgar Powell of The Open Spaces Society states that ‘The Open Spaces Society cannot understand how WCC can enclose Hartlebury Common as it is illegal’ Also illegal is the erection of impediments and the creation of barriers, the felling of trees and destruction of landscape and habitat an driving motor vehicles over a public right of way.
Worcestershire Commons Association