Grand Theft Auto or The Mean Streets of York?

Just the other week we considered the dangers of working as a bailiff in other countries, when we detailed the case of the bailiff who was shot in a Russian courtroom.

We said that whilst we’ve all had our fair share of ‘run ins’, on the whole we think that we’re pretty fortunate to work where we do…

…and then a story like this comes along.

In what sounds more like a mission from the video game Grand Theft Auto, a man in York subjected a bailiff to a 15 minute ordeal during which he threatened him with a meat cleaver.

Daniel Paul Johnson, 30, had been struggling to ‘keep the wolf from the door’ over council tax arrears, and in the words of his defence solicitor, Lee-Anne Robins Hicks, was ‘probably suffering from depression caused by family bereavement and financial problems’.

That’s as may be, but at CES we’re struggling to see how any defence can be made of this incident, as the weapon in question was six to eight inches long and three to four inches deep.


The initial reaction of aggressively grabbing the bailiff is one thing, but reaching for a hidden meat cleaver is entirely another…

Fortunately, after calling 999 and locking himself in his van, the bailiff was uninjured, but the effects will still be long lasting.

After 12 years in the industry, the bailiff is now understandably scared of working in the area and claims that they don’t feel safe.

The consequences of the attack are set to be serious, with York magistrates committing the case to York Crown Court for sentencing.

We hope that a strong sentence will send a message to debtors that just because they don’t really want a visit from a bailiff, that doesn’t mean they can threaten, attack or assault them in frustration or anger.

Thankfully this is a rare incident, but attacks and threats do seem to come with the territory.

How can we address this further, and have you got any similar stories to share?


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