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‘Gun’ man sues Southend Council for £288k lost earnings
A MAN who was jailed after firing a replica gun at bailiffs in a row over an unpaid parking fine is trying to sue Southend Council for £288,000 in lost wages.
David Sanderson, 44, from South Avenue, Southend, blames the council for sending bailiffs to his door who he claims acted illegally, forced their way into his home without the proper paperwork, and charging £396 on top of the £124 fine, which he says caused him to “flip”.
The council says it will vigorously contest the case.
Mr Sanderson claims he saw red and pulled out the imitation firearm to scare them off, because a severe head injury 20 years ago has left him with a short fuse.
He was jailed for 18 months, in March 2011 at Basildon Crown Court, after pleading guilty to possessing an imitation firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.
The incident, on October 11 2010, sparked a full armed police response involving the force helicopter. Mr Sander-son’s street was also cordoned off.
He now claims the criminal record meant he lost his job as a lithographic printer, with Circle Services, in Southend, and has been unable to get new work.
He wants £48,000 for the last two years and £240,000 to cover wages he would have earnt over the next ten years.
In a claim lodged at Southend County Court he said: “Bailiffs showed no warrant of execution in hard copy, as required by the laws. “They also forced entry into my home and levied an illegal sum in the process.”
Since being released from prison, Mr Sanderson has spent months trying to get the £520 fee he was charged by the bailiffs repaid by the council, after enlisting the help of a parking expert.
He is confident of a court win after the council agreed he was overcharged and paid him back £410 of it in June.
He said: “If the bailiffs the council used had not forced their way into my home without a warrant and then overcharged me, I wouldn’t have reacted the way I did. And the council has now accepted I was over charged.”
The council refused to comment when asked why it paid back Mr Sanderson some of the money.
However, in relation to his court claim, it said: “The council will be vigorously contesting the civil proceedings brought by Mr Sanderson.”