Monday, March 23, 2015

Bailiffs trying to evict cancer-stricken father over mortgage dispute are forced to retreat after 500 strangers form human blockade around his bungalow

Tom Crawford, Nottingham UK

Bailiffs trying to evict cancer-stricken father over mortgage dispute are forced to retreat after 500 strangers form human blockade around his bungalow 

  • Bailiffs have been trying to evict Tom Crawford, 63, for six months 
  • They claim he owes £43,000 in outstanding mortgage repayments
  • 500 strangers provided a human blockade around his bungalow
  • Bailiffs were forced to retreat by the strength of people power 
  • Mr Crawford has said he would 'rather die' than leave his home 

By Nazia Parveen for the Daily Mail

Published: 14:29 GMT, 23 January 2015 | Updated: 00:28 GMT, 24 January 2015

The bailiffs didn’t stand a chance. By the time they arrived to turf cancer patient Tom Crawford out of his home yesterday a crowd of some 500 had gathered to block their way.

For a few minutes there was a stand-off between the crowd and the burly men inside a white van and a black car.

And then, with cheers ringing in their ears, the bailiffs backed off.

People power: 500 strangers turn up at the home of cancer-stricken Tom Crawford to stop bailiffs evicting him from his home

It was the latest episode in Mr Crawford’s battle to keep his home. The grandfather, who is suffering from prostate cancer, has been battling the bailiffs over claims he still owes thousands in mortgage repayments on the bungalow.

Mr Crawford, 63, said he ‘would rather die’ than give up the home he has shared with his wife Susan for the past 27 years. 

Last July, after he posted a video online begging for help, more than 300 friends and strangers successfully stopped bailiffs from kicking him out.

And yesterday, six months after the first eviction attempt, bailiffs were forced to abandon their efforts again.

Bailiffs were greeted by a sea of people after serving their second eviction notice on Mr Crawford and his wife, Sue

Supporters rally around Tom Crawford to stop bailiffs

The YouTube video has now been shared more than 25,500 times and backing for Mr Crawford’s cause shows no signs of waning, with supporters travelling hundreds of miles to join the protest outside his home in Carlton, Nottinghamshire, again.

He had been ordered to leave his property by 10.30am yesterday. But supporters began congregating in the road before 7am.

At around 11am a white transit van and black Mercedes containing the bailiffs arrived at the bungalow – only to have to drive away.

Tom Crawford, pictured outside his bungalow, had been ordered to be out of his home by 10.30am today

Tom Crawford speaks out about the support against the bailiffs 

The strangers provided a human shield around the bungalow to stop the bailiffs from getting to it

Yesterday, Mr Crawford said: ‘I am humbled by all the people here. All I did was make a little video about what was happening to us and people supported it.’

Mr Crawford claims he has paid off his mortgage, which he took out with the now defunct Bradford and Bingley in 1988.

But UK Asset Resolution Limited, charged with winding down Bradford and Bingley mortgages, claims he still owes £43,000.

Mr Crawford, who is battling prostate cancer, has said that he would 'rather die' than leave his home

Surrounded: One of the cars carrying the bailiffs was held back from the Crawfords' home of 27 years

Many of the protesters filmed and photographed the bailiffs as they arrived at the property in two separate vehicles

Last year a judge ruled against the couple and ordered them to pay off the sum or face eviction.

But the Crawfords claim that these arrears only exist because of blunder by the bank. They say they believed they were paying off their mortgage when in fact they were paying only interest.

In an effort to keep his home, the retired flooring specialist posted a video explaining his predicament on YouTube. The father-of-three said: ‘I will never leave my home. I would rather die than leave.’

Mr Crawford said: 'There are not enough words in the English Dictionary for how I feel'

Supporters donned 'I am Tom Crawford' hats as they surrounded his home to keep bailiffs out

The strangers turned up at Mr Crawford's home after he posted a video on YouTube explaining his situation online

Supporters called for the bailiffs to stop harassing the couple. Eric Banner, 30, who lives in Nottingham, said: ‘What has happened to Tom is a complete injustice. He has done nothing wrong.’

Tim Fleming, 69, a charity worker from Twickenham, said: ‘It is important to come and support Tom because it could be me tomorrow. We won’t be beaten.’

Mr Crawford and his wife, 54, took out an endowment mortgage to buy the bungalow for £41,800 27 years ago. They expected to own the property outright when the loan came to an end last year.

Mr Crawford's court battle centres around an endowment mortgage with the now defunct Bradford and Bingley to buy the bungalow for £41,800 in 1988

The sea of people that bailiffs were faced with as they arrived at Mr Crawford's home in Nottinghamshire

A member of the bailiff removal team, who was forced to retreat from Mr Crawford's home

But they say the bank told him in 2007 that there was no record of him taking out an endowment, a savings plan designed to cover the debt.

He claims a bank manager then assured him this was incorrect and sent his wife flowers and champagne to apologise.

UK Asset Resolution Limited said it is discussing the ‘appropriate next step’.

Mr Crawford, pictured among the crowds outside his home, wearing his trademark straw hat

The bungalow the is home to Mr Crawford and his wife, Sue, that is at the centre of the row

Mr Crawford's daughter, Amanda Pike, being hugged by a fellow protester as they bailiffs retreate

One supporter said: 'What has happened to Tom is a complete injustice,' as the hung a banner from a car

Supporters, who have made t-shirts and banners, said that Mr Crawford has done 'nothing wrong'

Strangers revealed they had travelled hundreds of miles to support Mr Crawford after learning of his plight

Protesters set up a make-shift camp outside the Nottinghamshire bungalow to make sure that the bailiffs did not return

The protesters, who started gathering at 7am, fear that the bailiffs may return tomorrow when they have gone

A police spokesman said that it remained a 'civil matter' and it was in 'the hands of the bailiffs

Some of the protesters who congregated in the sleepy street in Nottinghamshire wore masks

Mr Crawford's daughter said the support the family had received was 'amazing.' Pictured: Mr Crawford outside the bungalow

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