A ROOFER who used a “machete” to threaten a bailiff trying to tow away his Ford Transit said he just “saw red”. The Debtor from Hampshire was in court over threats made to a Bailiff outside his property.
Anthony Ayling, of North Lane, Aldershot, threatened to attack Christopher Marsh, a bailiff working for JBW Enforcement, when he turned up at his house at around 9am on February 2 to seize the van over an unpaid parking fine.
The £810 fine had been issued by Wandsworth Council in south London but was ignored, prosector Serena Edwards told Aldershot Magistrates’ Court.
When Mr Marsh arrived, Ayling threatened to smash his van with a sledgehammer, before raising a 2ft-long, rusty-bladed “machete” over his head and ordering him to leave or “you’ll get it”.
The blade in question was actually a roofing tool used for removing nails, but Ayling, who later handed himself in to police, admitted that he wanted the bailiff to think it was a knife.
Miss Edwards told the court last Thursday (February 28) that Mr Marsh had knocked on the door with no answer before returning to his vehicle, writing out a seizure notice and attaching it to the drivers’ side window of the van.
He returned to the house and posted another notice through the letterbox.
Ayling’s wife then went to the passenger side of the van offering to make the payment on her card.
“Mr Ayling walked over, his face screwed up in anger and his fists clenched, swearing at her not to pay it,” Ms Edwards said.
“He smacked her around the back of the head with an open hand.
“His wife said ‘just take my card and make the payment, I’ll call you to get the card back’, and placed it on the seat of the van.”
It was then that Ayling, 53, produced the “machete”, pulling it back over his head as if to smash the window of the bailiff’s vehicle.
“The victim said throughout the whole incident that Mr Ayling’s tone and body language put him on edge. When he returned with what he thought was a machete, he felt in fear for his own safety,” Ms Edwards said.
It was an “impulsive action”, duty solicitor Kevin Izod told the court on Ayling’s behalf. He said there had been a clerical error at Wandsworth, and that the fine had already been paid.
He also questioned the truth of the bailiff’s statement, saying: “He doesn’t believe the bailiff knocked on the door. One would question why he would have knocked when he had a warrant.
“Common sense says that a bailiff seeking to remove a vehicle is likely to want to avoid confrontation. Why would the bailiff want to make two trips to the house?”
He also said that in a statement, Ayling’s wife said she was “not assaulted in any way”, adding that the victim’s account was “slightly embellished”.
Ayling was ordered to complete 120 hours of unpaid work as part of a 12-month community order, and to pay £75 compensation to Mr Marsh, £85 court costs and a victim surcharge of £60.