Workman seizing abandoned van confronted by ‘irate’ owner

A MAN working on behalf of the local authority to remove an abandoned vehicle was confronted by the owner. Blackburn magistrates heard Asif Abbas became increasingly agitated and aggressive as he argued about the removal of the van. He eventually snatched the keys out of the recovery truck and left the scene.

Abbas, 44, of Queens Road, Blackburn, was convicted after trial of using threatening behaviour towards Christopher Boardman, theft of his vehicle keys and pleaded guilty to a charge that on a separate occasion of driving while over the limit for the derivative of cocaine. He was made subject to a community order for 12 months with 15 days rehabilitation activity requirement, banned for 12 months and ordered to pay GBP360 compensation, GBP400 costs and fined GBP50. Andy Robinson, prosecuting, said Mr Boardman was working on behalf of Blackburn with Darwen and had been asked to remove a Mercedes Sprinter from Queens Road.

He and a colleague had loaded the van onto their truck when Abbas approached and asked why they were taking it. “They had been given instructions to remove it and showed him the paperwork and gave him a number to call,” said Mr Robinson. “He came back and said it was a false number and was becoming increasingly irate.”

He said Mr Boardman began to feel threatened and thought he was in danger of being attacked. Abbas prevented him from closing the truck door and then reached in and snatched the keys. Mr Robinson said the keys were not recovered and the incident had proved costly for Mr Boardman’s company.

What should have been a one-hour job took four hours and the truck was out of use for a week. In a victim personal statement Mr Boardman said it was the first time in 11 years of doing the job that he had been threatened in that way. He said it had caused him great stress and he had eventually terminated the business.

Aftab Bakhat, defending, his client was driving out of town when he was told someone had come to remove his van. “He returned and wanted to see the paper work,” said Mr Bakhat. “He called the number that was given to him and there was no answer.

He didn’t feel they had lawful authority to remove the vehicle.”

He said despite being convicted he still had difficulty accepting full blame and culpability.

“The victim was distressed by his behaviour and there is no disputing that,” he added.