Further Steps Notice from Greater Manchester Accounts and Enforcement Unit

Hey guys! I received a letter titled 'Further Steps Notice' from Greater Manchester Accounts and Enforcement Unit today. It's the first I've heard about it, I thought it was a scam. So I emailed them from their official email address on justice.gov.uk. They came back to me and said it was in relation to a case regarding 'smoking on train in Bolton'. I don't smoke, nor have I ever been on a train through Bolton. They further stated that they had tried to contact me at my address in Bolton twice previous (I have never been to Bolton - I'm sure it's a wonderful place and I'd love to visit the Phoenix club). They further added that they found my 'actual address' on 8th Dec and resent the Further Steps Notice.

I've explained everything to them (except the bit about wanting to visit the Phoenix club), but I've heard nothing back and now it's the weekend.

I'm unsure how this mistake has happened. But I'm worried this could start to affect me in a bad way - credit score damage or Max and Paddy turning up to claim my TV and sofa. 

I guess my question is, as this is a genuine mistake, do they have the power to just apologise and go away, or will I actually need to appeal this and rock up to court to plead not guilty? Joking aside, I'm actually genuinely worried. 

Any advice sincerely welcomed

Comments

  • Brie
    Brie Posts: 9,238
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    Never heard of this before but I suspect there will be a civilised conclusion at some point.  You might have better luck if you can ring and chat this through.  That said there's a certain certainty if you have an email trail in case thing keep getting ahead of you.  

    As for Max & Paddy....never heard of them specifically though I'm sure they're actually lovely blokes who love them dear old mom etc.  But should a couple of lads show up unless they are official bailiffs (very very highly unlikely) then you can deny them access to your home.  If you did allow them in they might be able to take an inventory of likely possessible goods (yours or otherwise) and that can become problematic.  So don't let them in.  If they insist you need to insist more firmly that you are not allowing it.  Have your phone to hand and film any interaction particularly if they get aggressive (as they have no legal standing....)

    Should it (unlikely) ever get to court see if you can provide any sort of proof that you weren't there on the day in question.  Proof you were at work or at your mates or the pub (cctv or testimony).   

    And if whomever continues to state you were the one with the fag on the train (or whatever) ask them for their proof.  Also ask them for proof of contacting you.  Frankly I don't know how an organisation like this might come up with an address for someone.  How do they think it is you?  If someone on the train confronted the smoker and he said "I'm Jamie Hall from 1 Main Street" and someone thinks that was you then you want to know what they think, why and prepare your defense accordingly.  
    "Never retract, never explain, never apologise; get things done and let them howl.”
  • kimwp
    kimwp Posts: 1,632
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    I think for debts where the debtor has disappeared/moved without giving an address, they do statistical analysis to try to figure out which person with that name is likely to be the debtor. So it's probably something like that, maybe combined as Brie says with the offender giving the wrong name. 

    I think if you are worried, it might be worth calling them again and checking that you are no longer down as the person identified.
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  • jmehall
    jmehall Posts: 11
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    Thank you for the information. My suspicion was, as Brie said, whoever it was enjoy a ciggy on the train, happened to have my name and DOB, they've put 2 and 2 together and made 5 (although my children are laughing at the idea of me ever going anywhere near a cigarette). I think it's a tad cruel of Greater Manchester Accounts and Enforcement Unit to take this approach. I'm competent enough to defend myself, however, had I been a vulnerable person, it would suggest their approach is totally unacceptable. I will be contacting my MP to highlight their questionable practices should this be the case. 
  • Floss
    Floss Posts: 8,113
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    Brie said:

    As for Max & Paddy....never heard of them specifically though I'm sure they're actually lovely blokes who love them dear old mom etc....  
    Max & Paddy were the bouncers at the fictional Phoenix Club in Bolton - products of Peter Kay's imagination 😉
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  • molerat
    molerat Posts: 31,519
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    jmehall said:
    Thank you for the information. My suspicion was, as Brie said, whoever it was enjoy a ciggy on the train, happened to have my name and DOB, they've put 2 and 2 together and made 5 (although my children are laughing at the idea of me ever going anywhere near a cigarette). I think it's a tad cruel of Greater Manchester Accounts and Enforcement Unit to take this approach. I'm competent enough to defend myself, however, had I been a vulnerable person, it would suggest their approach is totally unacceptable. I will be contacting my MP to highlight their questionable practices should this be the case. 
    https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/hm-courts-and-tribunals-service/about/complaints-procedure#make-a-complaint


  • molerat said:
    jmehall said:
    Thank you for the information. My suspicion was, as Brie said, whoever it was enjoy a ciggy on the train, happened to have my name and DOB, they've put 2 and 2 together and made 5 (although my children are laughing at the idea of me ever going anywhere near a cigarette). I think it's a tad cruel of Greater Manchester Accounts and Enforcement Unit to take this approach. I'm competent enough to defend myself, however, had I been a vulnerable person, it would suggest their approach is totally unacceptable. I will be contacting my MP to highlight their questionable practices should this be the case. 
    https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/hm-courts-and-tribunals-service/about/complaints-procedure#make-a-complaint


    Thanks guys! I will raise a complaint today. 
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