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The owner of a Bradford convenience store, Manningham Superstore in Carlisle Road, found out the hard way that using other people’s equipment without permission could be costly.
High Court Enforcement agents from debt recovery firm Marstons turned up at the premises on 20th June 2017 to enforce a Judgment relating to damages awarded by the County Court for unauthorised use of bread baskets belonging to bread equipment company Bakers Basco, which were being used as staging for displays of produce outside the store.
When owner Mr. Javed disputed payment, the agents exercised their legal right to seize equipment, including, in this case, a Mercedes Sprinter van which was clamped. At this point, payment was made.
Steve Millward, General Manager of Bakers Basco, said: “Mr. Javed had his van clamped and found just how annoying it can be when your property is taken from you. But he’s been using our baskets worth hundreds of pounds without permission for months now. I’d like to think he’s learnt his lesson; but this is the forth time we have had to go to court over him using our baskets. In total, he’s had to pay more than £3,000 in damages and costs and now he has had to pay another £1,100.00. It would have been a lot cheaper to have bought his own equipment in the first place.”
Bakers Basco manages and licenses a pool of four million bread baskets and 500,000 wheeled dollies for use by its member bakers. This shares costs, optimises space in delivery vehicles, so reducing ‘food miles’, and cuts the amount of disposable packaging ending up in landfill. Treated properly, Bakers Basco’s equipment can have a useful life of up to 10 years. Currently, around 25 bakeries, ranging from small to very large, pay a license fee to use the equipment.
“We are sick and tired of a small minority of greedy people who think it’s OK to use other people’s equipment without their permission. If someone ‘borrows’ your car without asking, you would probably call that theft, and you’d have a right to stop them,” says Steve Millward. “It’s not a ‘victimless crime’ – taking our bread baskets and dollies without permission means other people have to foot the bill. It means extra costs for the baker which have to be passed on to the retailer and ultimately the consumer. What’s more, irresponsible parties often end up dumping the baskets when they have finished with them, to the detriment of the environment.”
Millward adds: “We are continually working with our members and license holders – more than 25 UK bakers, from small ones to the very biggest – to improve the design of our baskets and dollies and the whole service we offer. This includes maintaining, repairing and managing our equipment pool and ensuring baskets are where they are needed. Our whole purpose is to make it easy to transport bread safely, cost-effectively and in an environmentally friendly way.”
Bakers Basco and its members’ equipment is clearly marked as the company’s property. When it becomes aware that its equipment is being used without permission, a simple request to return the items is usually enough. However, in cases where companies hold on to Bakers Basco’s property after being asked to return it, or are repeatedly found to be using it without authority, legal action will be taken to retrieve the equipment and prevent further misuse.
“We are involved in several ongoing cases and will continue to take legal action against those who use and abuse our equipment to protect our members, retailers and the general public,” said Millward.