St Athan man prosecuted for attempting to block mobile home sale

A St Athan man has been ordered to pay £12,000 for deliberately trying to prevent the sale of a mobile home following a prosecution by the Vale of Glamorgan Council.

 

  • Monday, 08 November 2021

    Vale of Glamorgan

    Rural Vale



An investigation by Shared Regulatory Services, who carry out such work for the Vale, Cardiff and Bridgend Council, led to William Forrest being found guilty of one count under the Mobile Home (Wales) Act 2013 at Cardiff Magistrates Court.


He was fined £1,400, told to pay costs of £600 and £10,000 in compensation to the victim after his actions affected the caravan’s sale price.


In cases where mobile homes prove difficult to sell, they are often sold back to site owners at a price considerably below the market value.


They are then demolished and replaced with a new mobile home that can be sold for a much higher figure.

 

Forrest runs the Castleton Park site in St Athan where a residential mobile home previously owned by Gareth Hipperson’s parents is located.


In June 2019, following their deaths, he inherited the property and decided to sell it to Tim Butcher, who returned a completed Proposed Sale Form to Forrest.


That document indicated that a Mitsubishi car would be left on the site, but Forrest applied to the Residential Property Tribunal for a Refusal Order, claiming in a telephone conversation that Mr Butcher had indicated he would park a campervan next to the mobile home. 


Site rules prohibited the parking of any commercial vehicles, touring caravans or campervans at the location.

 

Mr Butcher denied that allegation, indicating he had never owned a vehicle like the one described and had made no phone calls to the caravan park.


The Refusal Order was not granted and the sale eventually completed, but at a significantly lower price because of the delay.


Hipperson claimed that a previous sale had also collapsed following similar behaviour by Forrest and in court it became clear that Forrest had submitted a number of applications for Refusal Orders.


In reaching his decision, District Judge Shomon Khan stated that the prosecution had met the criminal standard and he was satisfied that the defendant had knowingly produced a false statement to the Tribunal to frustrate the sale and that he had done it before.

Cllr Eddie Williams, Vale of Glamorgan Council Cabinet Member for Legal, Regulatory and Planning Services, said: “This is a clear example of someone attempting to operate outside the law and so I welcome the decision of the Court.


“Diligent work from Shared Regulatory Services officers has led to this prosecution. I hope it sends out a clear message that this type of behaviour will not be tolerated and that we will take decisive action against anyone attempting to act in this way.”