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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
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Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Hi. Recently, I was stopped by a Police Community Support

Customer Question

Hi. Recently, I was stopped by a Police Community Support officer when collecting some small logs for my fire from the side of the road accusing me of theft as I did not have the owner's (the Highways Authoity) permission.

Am I protected by any Law of abandanment in that the Highways Authority is never going to go round collecting fallen, dead wood from all their roadsides. If so, which Law can I quote the next officer that stops me please? Do you have any other defence suggestions please.

Many thanks
Colin Rees [email protected]
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Hi
Have you been charged with anything?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

No. I was just stopped and checked.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
I wouldn't take much notice of community support officers. They are not generally very respected. Police officers don't all know the criminal law very well and community support officers know a good deal less.

If these logs are dead wood effectively then you have two potential points and one practical difficulty.

I'm afraid I don't think its right to say that they are never going to collect dead wood. At least, clearly the HA are not going to do it themselves but maintaining street furniture and vegetation is within the remit of the local council and they do so.

You can rely on abandonment. I'm afraid Im not sure thats your strongest point. The fact that they remain on the highway for the local council to collect does not mean they have been abandoned. They are just uncollected.

However, the offence of theft is subject to a test called the Ghosh test. A jury would be directed to consider whether or not objectively anybody would think what you had done was dishonest. Like people who pick wild blackberries, removing logs that have been left for local council refuge might not be considered dishonest.

In any event, from a practical point of view, the police are not going to get a loser's statement from the HA for some logs. How they think they will identify them anyway I don't know.

Its very unlikely that anybody in CPS would think this passes the public interest test anyway.

This is just typical community support nonsense.

Hope this helps. Please rate my answer OK SERVICE or above and I can answer your related questions.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69378
Experience: Over 5 years in practice
Jo C. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.


Thank you. This is very helpful but I have a couple of points please.


 


wouldn't take much notice of community support officers. They are not generally very respected. Police officers don't all know the criminal law very well and community support officers know a good deal less.


 


Indeed but this particular PCSO was most officious, told me to watch my attitude and said if I did not put the logs back, she would call a patrol car who would arrest me. This was after she checked the car was taxed and insured and that I had or had not a criminal record.

If these logs are dead wood effectively then you have two potential points and one practical difficulty.

I'm afraid I don't think its right to say that they are never going to collect dead wood. At least, clearly the HA are not going to do it themselves but maintaining street furniture and vegetation is within the remit of the local council and they do so.


 


Fair point, I understand except the HA is the body who actually own the land by the side of the road. The PCSO said, do you have the landowner's permission. Perhaps the local authority is a third party in Law not involved between myself and the landowner?

You can rely on abandonment. I'm afraid Im not sure thats your strongest point. The fact that they remain on the highway for the local council to collect does not mean they have been abandoned. They are just uncollected.


 


This is brillient. I accept it may not be a strong defense but at the side of the road with an officious PCSO, one needs all the ammo one can muster!

However, the offence of theft is subject to a test called the Ghosh test. A jury would be directed to consider whether or not objectively anybody would think what you had done was dishonest. Like people who pick wild blackberries, removing logs that have been left for local council refuge might not be considered dishonest.


 


Not quite sure what you mean by 'refuge; but this will blind the next PCSO with legal science - ideal!

In any event, from a practical point of view, the police are not going to get a loser's statement from the HA for some logs. How they think they will identify them anyway I don't know.


 


Loser's?

Its very unlikely that anybody in CPS would think this passes the public interest test anyway.


 


Great ammo, thank you.

This is just typical community support nonsense.


 


My MP was appalled. When you respond, would it be an imposition to ask you to be kind enough to phrase your opinion as a sort of report so I can copy it, get it printed and encapsulated and carry it in my car in case I am stopped again please? It will sit alongside my letter from the MP suggesting it is all a waste of police time!


Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX appreciate this service. Now I can go about my almost lawful business without constantly looking over my shoulder as I do now.


Colin Rees

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.

This isn't an opinion. This is a question and answer site for general information.

 

I can't you an advice on the point. I haven't had vision of the case in full.

 

If you want an advice then you will have to go through the proper channels and bear the cost I'm afraid.

Customer: replied 3 years ago.


OK, I understand.


Thank you.


 

Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
No problem.

All the best.

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