Licensee complains to Punch after debt collectors ‘steal’ property

By Georgina Townshend

- Last updated on GMT

'Traumatic experience': licensee claims personal property was 'stolen' in debt collection
'Traumatic experience': licensee claims personal property was 'stolen' in debt collection

Related tags: Pleading

A licensee has complained to the chief executive of Punch pubco, claiming her personal property was “stolen” last month by the representatives of a debt collection firm used by Punch.

In a letter to Punch CEO Duncan Garrood, publican Lynne Caws said the debt had “nothing to do with her” and described the incident as “traumatic”. 

Caws claims that “three huge men” walked into her pub – the Swan, in Reading, Berkshire – when she opened at 12noon. The men allegedly took £500 along with £20 in collectable coins and “threatened to close the pub down”.

Caws has said that the debt was not hers, but she does know the person she believes the debt relates to.

Trouble sleeping

In the letter, Caws wrote: “I have never in my life been so frightened as I was that day.

“Since their visit I have had trouble sleeping as I experience flashbacks and have had to visit my GP who has prescribed sleeping tablets, which I have never before needed in my life.”

She said she is “still traumatised” by the visit and is frightened to remain in the pub alone.

“It has effectively robbed me of my confidence and very nearly ruined my life,” she added.

“I cannot believe that a high-profile company like Punch would ever condone such treatment of people who have not got so much as a parking ticket against them.”

Confidential investigation

In response, a spokesman from Punch said: “Following communication to our chief executive, we are looking into the events that took place on 31 March 2017 as part of an ongoing private and confidential investigation.

“We also have a large amount of historical correspondence between all parties since 2013 to consider as part of that investigation. 

“We take any instances of this nature extremely seriously and are working with all concerned to establish the full facts.”

UPDATE

Statement from Punch on 6 June 2017

“Upon receipt of correspondence from Mrs Caws of The Swan Inn, Reading, Punch carried out an investigation into Court Enforcement Services to understand the situation. After reviewing the information provided, which included video footage of the alleged incident reported by Mrs Caws, we can confirm that the enforcement agents acted professionally and properly, in accordance with the requirements of the Tribunals Court and Enforcement Act 2007, and in accordance with the writ received by the High Court. At no point was any money stolen or taken without consent. Our CEO Duncan Garrood has written directly to Mrs Caws to address her concerns and draw this matter to a close."

Related topics: Punch Pubs & Co

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